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OP <Were there any links provided for some background on this phenomenon?>
No, AnnaStrophic, just the letter to the editor, and today's paper had no followup.
bshlulit! Oh, that one I had no trouble with; and the very same back to you, sir!
Here's the conversation going on at Dave Wilton's wordorigins.com board (where, incidentally, the university in question is labeled as Cmabrigde ):
These all unscramble except the first one. Was that a test?
A self-fulfilling urban legend?
I'd been checking snopes daily on this, mah own sef. Let us await developments.
Here's a ninteresting if somewhat lengthy discussion. Warning: Takes some time to load even with a T-1 line.
>Was that a test?
Oh, no I was just wondering whether longer, out of context words unscrambled - I find the fourth one harder - I keep reading cosmonaut.
I had no trouble at all reading the letter either - but I do agree that if the words were longer it would be a tad more difficult without context.
Just like you can often figure out what a word means by the sentence/paragraph around it, you can usually figure out a mixed up word the same way.
This brings up related thing though...
When it's really really late, and I'm trying to finish up a book that seems to drag out the end I have been know to skip over entire words, sometimes sentences, and still know what's going on.
Do you think this is the brain working in the same way as understanding jumbled words?
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