Labelling of medicines

 

Labelling lines

 

Interesting shape of words

 

 

Email received 27. August 2003 (Norwegian)

Inresastaent!

 

En visktenpaleig unsdelrøkese gjort ved et untivseriet i Enlgnad har vist

at desrom de to føsrte- og to siste botsvkeane i alle oredne i en tekst er

riktig plessart, spllier det liten rolle hvkilen reføkkelge de øvirge

boskvetane i oredne kommer. Tektsen er fullt lebsar selv om de andre

bokeastvne kommer huilbtertlulter! Dette er fordi vi ikke leser hver

eneklt botksav, men ser bidlet av ordet som hehleet.

 

 

Email received 15. September 2003

Hmmm... interesting

 

NOT A LOT OF PEPOLE KONW TIHS

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh 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 is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a

toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we

do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

 

 

 

Email from 14. September 2003 (Swedish)

Inresstant!

 

En vestenkalpig unsdernöking gjord vid ett untivseriet i Enlgand har

visat att utfiall de två fösrta och de två sista botskevärna i alla

orden i en text är ritkigt plessarade, spelar det liten roll i viklen

orgnindslöfjd de övirga boskvätrena i orden kommer. Tetxen är fullt läbsar t.o.m. om de andra bokestävrna kommer hullorebmuller! Detta eftorsem vi inte läser varje enkisld botksav, utan ser bidlen av ordet som helhet.

 

 

 

*******

This is discussed by Matt Davis at the

MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK

http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/~matt.davis/Cmabrigde/

 

The Norwegian and Swedish versions state that the two first and the two last letters in the words are necessary. The English and Dutch versions say that only the first and the last letter are necessary. 

The English average word length (4,00) in the message is less than 80% compared to the Swedish (5,16) and the Norwegian (5,03) version.

 

The phenomenon described occurs when pharmacists read handwritten prescriptions. Doctors’ handwriting can be very difficult to read. But the combination of a) some familiar elements/shapes and b) a context which  strongly limits which words or names can be relevant and c) the pharmacist has a knowledge of  relevant words and names, this combination solves many mysteries.

 

One of my colleagues said, when seeing this email message: I can read it if I don’t try too hard. If I read it carefully, it is much more difficult.

 

The visual appearance of words can (and should) be exploited in order to emphasise certain elements in a text, or to enhance differenciation (see Tall Man Letters for generic cephALOSPORine names).

 

 

last revision 01022004