Wednesday 19 October 2016

Reading Sentence With Jumbled Up (transpose) Letters

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

The above research finding by Cambridge University has been quite popular around the net since September 2003. However, was the finding accurate and was it actually conducted by the prominent university?

Well, many people in the field were skeptical, including Matt Davis (, who works at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in Cambridge, UK. He said he was not aware that such research existed until a journalist contacted his colleague, Sian Miller for information. He found it odd that he had never heard of the research by Cambridge, especially since the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit works closely with the university. 

Davis spent some time tracking down the origin of the so-called finding and it turns out that he was quite right – the study was never done by Cambridge University!

He further argued that the claim in the finding (“the only important thing is that the first and the last letter be at the right place, the rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without a problem”) was incorrect.

For instance, let’s check out the following three sentences which were written according to ‘the correct first and last letter rule’:

i. A vheclie epxledod at a plocie cehckipont near the UN haduqertares in Bagahdd on Mnoday kilinlg the bmober and an Irqai polcie offceir
ii. Big ccunoil tax ineesacrs tihs yaer hvae seezueqd the inmcoes of mnay pneosenirs
iii. A dootcr has aimttded the magltheuansr of a tageene ceacnr pintaet who deid aetfr a hatospil durg blender

A bit hard to read right? Clearly, the first and last letter is not the only thing that you use when reading text.

Can you read it?
“S1M1L4RLY, Y0UR M1ND 15 R34D1NG 7H15 4U70M471C4LLY W17H0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17”

Without real difficulty I bet!
But the question here is- why?

Well, the letters in the sentence were not random but were instead carefully selected. If the letters had been jumbled, it would have become hard to read.

Furthermore, there is another suggestion which advocate the theory that we use a parallel letter recognition model to recognize words. 

Last but not least, can you read the below sentences?
1. Kkaeiann cakui mlajis tauhn ini ynag tggnii taleh mraemeh pdantaaepn raami pearsa
2. Murnuet senarog peiilydenk di Utvriiseni Cabgrdmie, ia taidk kria daalm apa pretianh hruuf dlaam stau ptreaaakn ynag , stau-sanuyta ynag penintg ilaah huurf paetmra dan tikraehr bradea di tpemat ynag btuel. Selnbhieya bloeh mdajeni kaaaedn kaucr-kicar dan adna miash beloh mmbenyacaa tpana msalaah. Ini kanrea mndia miunasa tadik mmeacba staiep huurf dangen sidynirena tpeati peaakatrn itu sceraa klnahuenuysera.
3. Seranog dkotor tlaeh mgnkeau mumeunbh soernag pskiaet kaesnr rejama ynag megnangil dniua speelas kaispelan uabt htosiapl.

How long did it take before you realized that the sentences were not in English?

What fascinates me is, will there be any differences or similarities in reading those jumbled-up phrases for people who speak more than one language?

Would it make it more difficult or easier for them to understand the message in the sentence?

Well, one thing is certain. The rule which implies that 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 is definitely false. 

Research into this reading ‘phenomena’ will inevitably continue as the human brain and mind is an ever wondrous thing to explore. 


1. Kenaikan cukai majlis tahun ini yang tinggi telah memerah pendapatan ramai pesara
2. Menurut seorang penyelidik di Universiti Cambridge, ia tidak kira dalam apa perintah huruf dalam satu perkataan yang , satu-satunya yang penting ialah huruf pertama dan terakhir berada di tempat yang betul. Selebihnya boleh menjadi keadaan kucar-kacir dan anda masih boleh membacanya tanpa masalah. Ini kerana minda manusia tidak membaca setiap huruf dengan sendirinya tetapi perkataan itu secara keseluruhannya.
3. Seorang doktor telah mengaku membunuh seorang pesakit kanser remaja yang meninggal dunia selepas kesilapan ubat hospital.

Shared by Nur Fakhrin
Guest Blogger

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