Only Great Minds Can Read

This Based on Cambridge
University Study?
By Mark Krynsky | General | 07 November 2008

Can you read the paragraph below?

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was
rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a
rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr
the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit
and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and
you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn
mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

End of jumbled text

You know you have them…those friends that love to send you
emails with anything they find interesting on the web. Well for the
most part, many of these are forgettable, but every now and then
something interesting slips through. I thought that was the case
with this particular one.

I became curious so I decided to research the origin of this.
Apparently it’s old and has been around for a while. It took me some
deep searching to find it’s apparently based on a Cambridge
University study.

According to a researcher at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter
in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is
that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a
total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because
the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as
a whole.

I read this quite easily which is what got me interested in researching it.My next stop where I go to verify the truth of anything took me to Snopes and they list it as status “Undetermined” regarding the validity. http://krynsky.com/only-great-minds-can-read-this-based-on- cambridge-university-study/ . I’ve never seen that before and found that equally interesting. Oh and in case you were wondering. In any case this is interesting and I thought it was worth sharing.

The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. Or rather. . I first became aware of it when a journalist contacted a my colleague Sian Miller on 16th September. the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae..Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef. but the wrod as a wlohe. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are. trying to track down the original source. According to a researcher (sic) at Cambridge University.. the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole. This text circulated on the internet in September 2003.

I've written this page. let me know. If you think I've missed something important. as it relates to this meme. as long as the first and last letters of each word are in the right place." Chances are you also understand it. pointing out what I think is the relevant research on the role of letter order on reading. There are elements of truth in this.com Facebook Twitter Email Print Chances are you've seen this in your inbox: "Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy. UK.mrc-cbu.davis/Cmabrigde/ If You CanIf You Can Raed Tihs. 2009 FoxNews. it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are.It's been passed on many times. It purports that the order of the letters inside a given word doesn't matter. the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers be at the rghit pclae.cam.. It struck me as interesting - especially when I received a version that mentioned Cambridge University! I work at Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Again. in Cambridge.. to try to explain the science behind this meme.ac. a Medical Research Council unit that includes a large group investigating how the brain processes language. http://www. and in the way of most internet memes has mutated along the way. one line at a time to illustrate these points. I thought I should have heard of it before. this is only my view of the current state of reading research. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. but the wrod as a wlohe. You Msut Be Raelly Smrat Published March 31.uk/people/matt. If there's a new piece of research on reading that's been conducted in Cambridge. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef. . but also some things which scientists studying the psychology of language (psycholinguists) know to be incorrect. I'm going to break down the meme.

Matt Davis." he wrote. while partially correct in its overall hypohsetis — um. In his letter. if you can read it). And therein lies a tale.D. hypothesis — is "very irresponsible in several important ways. to New Scientist magazine in response to an article written about the effects of reversing short chucks of speech. spent some time tracking down the origin of this letter-transposition story. The e-mail was originally sent around without mentioning Cambridge. at Nottingham University. who has put up a Web site to address the issues behind the often forwarded e-mail. Clive Tooth. Rawlinson — whom FoxNews. Well. as one commenter on Davis's Web site. it ain't exactly so. a specialist in child development and educational psychology. that's what it says." says Denis Pelli. First of all — oops — there was never a study done at Cambridge University. to explain his comment and thesis research.You can read the words because the human mind reads words as a whole. while you can take into consideration the sentence's . He found that it comes from a letter written in 1999 by Graham Rawlinson. "If this were the case. it got added after the Times of London interviewed a Cambridge neuropsychologist for comment. and. the first and last letters are not the only thing that you use when reading text.com could not track down — wrote that the article "reminds me of my Ph. is that one permutation can result in many different words." Rawlinson later contacted Davis." Also to be noted. posted. The e-mail. "Clearly. and not letter-by-letter. how would you tell the difference between pairs of words like 'salt' and 'slat'. But while it's entertaining and ego-boosting (that is. a senior research scientist at Cambridge University's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. which showed that randomizing letters in the middle of words had little or no effect on the ability of skilled readers to understand the text. professor of psychology and neural science at New York University.

and — which help keep the grammar of the sentences basically unchanged. "While it may seem that it is easy to read text with transposed letters. 'pintos'.' The circulating e-mail itself is also misleading. For example. because it seems written to enhance the desired effect to further prove its point. they never read them as quickly and efficiently as they read normal text).context. and 227 words per minute when the letters were transposed. professor of psychology and director of the Rayner Eyetracking Lab at University of California San Diego. the phrasing used in the e-mail itself is quite predictable. "There is some truth to the e-mail in that people can read sentences in which the letters are jumbled. one still can't be sure about the author's true intention of word choice. Another expert in this particular field. The sentences are simple and.e. Rawlinson said. In the e-mail. "thing" is written as "tihng." not "pbleorm. Rawlinson says. The letter transposition in the words resulted in lower reading speeds for most participants. a 12 percent decrease in overall reading speed. 'potins'. given the unchanged words. one can deduce their meaning easily. you. me. said. The e-mail also transposes adjacent letters." Rayner and his colleagues did an experiment in which they asked college students at the University of Durham to read 80 sentences with transposed letters. but." . there is always a cost (i. Rawlinson points out that words with two or three letters don't change at all. The students read 255 words per minute when the sentences were normal. Keith Rayner. making them totally understandable." not "tnihg". But. 'points'. The words that are unchanged are also often "function words. "there is always a cost involved in reading such text in comparison to normal text. "problem" is written as "porbelm." — the. almost half (31 out of 69) the words are correctly spelled. and 'pinots. the transposed letters of 'ponits' could spell out any of five different words – 'pitons'." Lastly. which makes the words easier to read.. For example." Rayner wrote.

com/story/2009/03/31/if-can-raed-tihs-msut-be-raelly- smrat. http://www.foxnews. "What's undoubtedly true is that scientific studies on jumbled letters and letter-order in reading has increased considerably since the e- mail started circulating. you'll be well armed with the "real" facts when this "fact" comes up during cocktail hour. Just make sure to answer intelligently. And remmeber to aviod excesisve drniking." he said.Davis.html . Now that you know the entire story. is that untruths printed are very hard to suppress. especially because of its added use of the Cambridge name. said. who seems sick of the e-mail." But he does see a silver lining in the fact that a simple forwarded e- mail has brought light to an issue near and dear to his research interests. "The moral of the story (at least where Cmabrdige is concerned).