Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Newspaper Capers

One of my small joys in life is misreading newspaper headlines. Over lunch just now, I misread an item in the Boston Globe as

Perkins School for the Blind's Handball Ensemble

It took me awhile to figure out what it really said, and I caught myself asking questions like "Can blind people even play handball?" and "Why do they call it an ensemble?" instead of just rereading the item.

Because I enjoy misreading so much, I poked around a little online to see what I could learn about it.

Cognitive psychologists at Boston University contend that "questions concerning the role of sentence context in the process of visual word recognition continue to be some of the most contentious in the field of cognitive psychology." There are multiple models of visual word recognition.

Studies of response times consider concepts such as frequency, letter confusability, and what is termed neighborhood size. Complete texts are less apt to be misread than lists of words. And something as specific as repetition blindness merits widespread research.

Fascinating! And here I thought it was just funny. Kinda like misheard lyrics.

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