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Its not waht you raed, it’s waht you unedrtsand taht cunots

Getting e-mails to potential prospects today has become a pain in the %@$%!!

There are spam and junkmail filters, whitelists, greylists, blacklists, you name it.

Given the tough market out there, the torrential downfall of spamming, and hence the competition, an intentional Freudian slip of the tongue – or rather of the word, may after all be of some use.

Knowing a thing or two about the psychology of reading in this case can help to make the difference between getting an e-mail through to your prospects, or losing it within the great abyss of cyber deletion.

Keeping the above in mind, I suspect that you’ve received the following e-mail at least once in you’re online lifetime experience, sometimes entitled “Only a few people can read this” or “If you can read this then you’re a genius”.

The message contains the following…

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.

Otherwise written:

According to a researcher (sic) at Cambridge University, 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. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.

This text has been circulating on the internet since around September 2003, but it’s origin can be traced back to a PhD thesis written in 1976, by Graham Rawlinson entitled, “The significance of letter position in word recognition”.

So what’s real psychology behind this and how can you use it to your advantage when it comes to getting your messages through?

You probably didn’t have much of a problem reading the above text or the subject line of this post in ‘scrambled’ form.

Well, compare that with the following three sentences:

Not too bad…

1) A vheclie epxledod at a plocie cehckipont near the UN haduqertares in Bagahdd on Mnoday kilinlg the bmober and an Irqai polcie offceir

More difficult…

2) Big ccunoil tax ineesacrs tihs yaer hvae seezueqd the inmcoes of mnay pneosenirs

Even harder…

3) A dootcr has aimttded the magltheuansr of a tageene ceacnr pintaet who deid aetfr a hatospil durg blendur

All three sentences follow the “rules” described above. The first and last letters remain untouched, while all the other letters have been moved.

So why do these sentences become increasingly difficult to read?

Basically because changing the letters while keeping the first and last letter the same is not the ONLY thing that’s going on.

The following FACTS of reading psychology also help to explain this phenomenon of reading…

Fact #1: Middle letter transpositions are easier to read than exterior transpositions.

For instance, it is generally easier to read the USHER written as “uhser” as “ushre”.

Fact #2: Misspellings (and letter transpositions) do in fact disrupt the reading process.

As M.J. Adams notes in his book Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print: “Regardless of semantic, syntactic, or orthographic predictability, the eye seems to process individual letters…Disruptions in adult readers’ eye movements indicate that the visual system tends to catch the slightest misspelling.”

Fact #3: Short words are EASIER to read than longer ones.

2 or 3 letter words don’t change at all, and the only change possible in a 4 letter words is to swap the order of the middle letters which (e.g. ‘fear’ becomes ‘faer’) doesn’t cause too much difficulty.

Fact #4: Function words (the, be, and, you etc.) stay the same, mostly because they are short words.

The result of this is that the grammatical structure of the original is maintained, thus helping you to work out which word is likely to come next and so to read the text as a whole. Hence, words that are predictable are going to be easier to read in this situation.

Fact #5: Transpositions of adjacent letters are easier to read than more distant transpositions.

That explains why in general it’s easier for the word problem, to read it when it’s written ‘pborlem’ than when it’s written as ‘porbelm’. In the latter case there is a more distant transposition than in the former.

Fact #6: Reordered letters which don’t CREATE another word are easier to read.

Hence, its harder to read words which can be confused with other words when their letters are swapped (like ‘salt’ and ‘slat’). To make an easy to read jumbled word, you should therefore avoid making other words.

Fact #7: Transpositions that preserve the SOUND of the original word are easier to read.

Consider the word ‘toatl’ vs. ‘ttaol’ for total. The first is easier to read since it keeps the sound of the original. This is due to the fact that we often attend to the sound of the words even when reading for meaning.

Fact #8: Predictable texts are easier to read.

For instance in the above email text, given the first few words of the sentence, it was probably pretty easy for you to guess what words were are coming next (even with very little information from the letters in the word). That’s because CONTEXT plays an important role in understanding speech distorted or presented in noise. The same is pretty much true for written text that has been jumbled.

Fact #9: The SHAPE of an entire word plays an important role in reading.

For instance, “CaSe MiXiNg” substantially slows down reading. Hence, a language such as Chinese which depends more upon the written form may become completely illegible when scrambled.

———————

Taking these little facts from reading psychology and applying them to e-mails could therefore possibly make the difference between getting through to prospects or having you’re mail deleted.

To offer one simply example, let’s say you want to send an email that read “Order now and receive…etc.”

Many filters will BUZZ on to the word “Order” and mark your email as spam

Allow yourself from time to time a bit of a Freudian slip (don’t do it all the time, or else you’re e-mails WILL look like spam to your readers) and rewrite the heading as follows:

“Odrer now and receive…etc.”

Most of the times it’s the SMALL things which you do which can make a BIG difference.

Onward and upward!

Marc

P.S.
If you want to REALLY speed read, check out my You Tube video and see what is possible when you have an Exponential Mindset… and the TOOLS to make it happen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtrVP6dn9f8

If you’re keen to learn more about stuff like this, make sure you subscribe to this blog and check out my website at www.MarcDussault.com

Imagine learning stuff like this on a DAILY BASIS?!?! They are called the Dr’s Daily Distinction and you can find out more by clicking here.