Friday Fun

Posted in Front Page

Count every “F” in the following text:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS …

How many did you get?

There are actually six F’s. If you got three don’t worry as that is normal, as the brain fails to process the word “of”. Apparently anyone who gets all 6 “F’s” on the first go is a genius. As such, it shouldn’t be too hard for a large section of the Cambridge population, but needless to say that I got three.

2 Responses to Friday Fun

  1. Bert Vaux says:

    It’s not the case that the brain fails to process the word “of”–we clearly are able to do that (except perhaps Broca’s aphasics). What seems to be involved in this effect is that humans process letters when they have their default phonetic values, which in this case for the letter would be the sound [f]. The word has the unusual pronunciation of the as [v], which appears to cause processing difficulties. The same has been found in studies where test subjects have to press a button when they see a letter , for example: in such cases they respond more quickly and accurately with words like Otter (where the symbol has its normal pronunciation [o]) than with words like Otter (where the symbol has the unusual pronunciation [a] for the American test subjects used in this study).

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