Free Capitalist

How our brain reads words

25 posts in this topic

Try this out; it's rather humorous and fascinating:

Cna yuo raed tihs? The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?

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Try this out; it's rather humorous and fascinating:

Cna yuo raed tihs? The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?

That only works after someone has learned to read each of the words in that paragraph and has automatized the process. Someone cannot properly learn to read that way from scratch.

That's why phonics is the only proper way to teach reading and why students taught with the look-say or whole-word method have such a hard time learning new words by reading and why they make such awful spelling errors.

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I've been wanting to ask this question and now seems the perfect opportunity:

Is Dyslexia real, or just a phenomenon caused by bad education that is blamed on some made up disease? Ever since I had first heard of Dyslexia at a young age I thought it sounded bogus, because it made no sense to me that words would appear jumbled and backwards but the rest of your vision would be perfect.

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I've been wanting to ask this question and now seems the perfect opportunity:

Is Dyslexia real, or just a phenomenon caused by bad education that is blamed on some made up disease? Ever since I had first heard of Dyslexia at a young age I thought it sounded bogus, because it made no sense to me that words would appear jumbled and backwards but the rest of your vision would be perfect.

The part of the brain the processes the word may not be the same as the part that processes the background. I don't see that as presenting a conflict.

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That's why phonics is the only proper way to teach reading and why students taught with the look-say or whole-word method have such a hard time learning new words by reading and why they make such awful spelling errors.

Betsy, do you mean phonics as in-learn based upon how the word sounds?

Through learning Greek and Latin, I find this to be true-sometimes (like English). But at other times, you cannot learn this way. I always learned the entire word, as well as its principle parts, and the grammar of the language is what allowed me to understand how to properly use it in context.

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That only works after someone has learned to read each of the words in that paragraph and has automatized the process. Someone cannot properly learn to read that way from scratch.

That's why phonics is the only proper way to teach reading and why students taught with the look-say or whole-word method have such a hard time learning new words by reading and why they make such awful spelling errors.

My thoughts exactly, Betsy.

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Is Dyslexia real, or just a phenomenon caused by bad education that is blamed on some made up disease?

I think most people labelled "dyslexic " are the victims of the "look-say" method of education, but that for some it is a real condition caused by a perceptual problem.

That was the case with Kathy, a very bright and extremely hard-working classmate of Stephen's at Columbia University. Kathy not only had trouble with reading, but with visually perceiving shape and, especially, direction. She had a great deal of special remedial reading instruction, including phonics, but the only thing that seemed to help was tracing Montessori sandpaper letters. Perhaps it was because she could feel the shapes and directions that were difficult for her to see.

Kathy made it through Civil Engineering at Columbia, thanks to Talking Books for the Blind, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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Betsy, do you mean phonics as in-learn based upon how the word sounds?

I mean learning how a word sounds by "sounding it out."

If it is a word the child knows, he will then be able to recognize, and eventually automatize, the connection between the written word and the concept. If it is a word he has never heard, he can learn a new concept using context clues. He then fixes the new concept in his mind by using the sound of the word he has "heard" in his mind by a process similar to the way he learned words by hearing them said.

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Well the interesting thing about the first post is not that it's how children learn how to spell words, but that after you learn to spell something properly, your brain doesn't even need it to have any coherent structure of letters, just the correct first and last letters, for you to understand it properly. I found that fascinating.

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Well the interesting thing about the first post is not that it's how children learn how to spell words, but that after you learn to spell something properly, your brain doesn't even need it to have any coherent structure of letters, just the correct first and last letters, for you to understand it properly. I found that fascinating.

Perhaps it is not as odd as it seems. For a start, one immediately knows something is wrong. Also, since the essential clues lie in the first and last letters, along with the appropriate word length and (jumbled) letters, it is easy to recognize the word.

I think it is a bit like seeing someone in different clothes. where the basic structure of the person is recognized, and overshadows the superficial dressing. Otherwise we would say: "Nice dress, who the hell are you?" :lol:

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Is Dyslexia real, or just a phenomenon caused by bad education that is blamed on some made up disease?

I think most people labelled "dyslexic " are the victims of the "look-say" method of education, but that for some it is a real condition caused by a perceptual problem.

My wife is dyslexic, and a reading monster (the first time I saw her she was walking through a food court in a mall and reading and the same time). When she was young she was in one of those Catholic schools when the problem arose. The nuns at the school told her father (the most intelligent roughneck I ever had the pleasure of meeting) that she was either lazy and delinquent, or mentally handicapped. He promptly pulled her from the school and set out to help her himself. He taught her to associate what she was seeing to the actual phonetic alphabet. So even though the "a" may be upside-down (or what ever which way) she could process it much the same way that we process the normal way it is written.

She really hasn't mastered direction though. When we are driving she'll tell me (9 times out of 10) to turn right, but point left - or visa versa. I have to double-check because it isn't like the pointing is always the correct one or the verbal command.

I don't know if the Look-Say method can produce dyslexia, but I doubt that Catholic schools were using it at that time. And there are other characteristics of the problem that don't seem related to learning to read.

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Actually I would say there would have to be something more to tie dyslexia to the Look-Say method. As far as I understand they merely result in the same symptom - difficulty reading. Furthermore, we'd have to account for the symptoms of dyslexia that are not directly related to reading and be able to explain how a theory of reading produced those problems.

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Well the interesting thing about the first post is not that it's how children learn how to spell words, but that after you learn to spell something properly, your brain doesn't even need it to have any coherent structure of letters, just the correct first and last letters, for you to understand it properly. I found that fascinating.

It is quite interesting. I think that more than just the correct first and last letters are important. Would the mixed up word be readable if it was misspelled? Is "jsust the croecct fsrsit and lsatt lteers" readable in the same way?

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I've been wanting to ask this question and now seems the perfect opportunity:

Is Dyslexia real, or just a phenomenon caused by bad education that is blamed on some made up disease? Ever since I had first heard of Dyslexia at a young age I thought it sounded bogus, because it made no sense to me that words would appear jumbled and backwards but the rest of your vision would be perfect.

The part of the brain the processes the word may not be the same as the part that processes the background. I don't see that as presenting a conflict.

I could understand if the individual had difficulty comprehending shapes or patterns in general, but the idea that purely words will get jumbled in your brain sounds like garbage to me. That would be like saying you could look at a pattern of sticks on the ground and comprehend it perfectly fine, but the moment someone rearranges them into a letter or word suddenly they become mixed up and disordered by your brain. I don't think it is possible for a physiological disease in your brain to selectively find letters in the universe and then mix them up, but then allow for perfect visual compensation of everything else.

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It is quite interesting. I think that more than just the correct first and last letters are important. Would the mixed up word be readable if it was misspelled? Is "jsust the croecct fsrsit and lsatt lteers" readable in the same way?

What's interesting is that I read that sentence naturally and comprehended the mispelled area at exactly the same rate at which I comprehended the rest of the sentence. I think I quickly sound out the jumbled word and then recognize based on the context what word it should be, but it all happens so fast it feels natural.

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Is Dyslexia real, or just a phenomenon caused by bad education that is blamed on some made up disease?

I think most people labelled "dyslexic " are the victims of the "look-say" method of education, but that for some it is a real condition caused by a perceptual problem.

She really hasn't mastered direction though. When we are driving she'll tell me (9 times out of 10) to turn right, but point left - or visa versa. I have to double-check because it isn't like the pointing is always the correct one or the verbal command.

This would sound like the problem isn't fundamentally a reading problem so much as something having to do with spatial/directional comprehension in the brain.

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Another question I've been wanting to ask:

When the Phonetics system works so darn well, why on earth did people switch and start doing the "Whole-Reading" or "Look-Say" method? I know that bad "progressive" education will employ the whole-reading method, but why do they push it?

I've read similar stories called "The Math Wars" (good article on wikipedia on this) where for no particular reason the educators at a school switch from the tried and true "Saxon Math" method to some new bizarre method of math that produces zero results. Or some educators would stubbornly refuse to teach the standard algorithm for long multiplication, and the results would be disastrous. Again, the reasons why were never clear to me, except I remember once some quotation saying that we shouldn't focus all of our time and energy on just one method of doing math.

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I believe you also need context to read the paragraph.

What are each of these words?

Out of context:

1> bsblaeal

2> coisnedr

3> alelobtusy

4> soprt

The same words in context:

I alelobtusy coisnedr bsblaeal a soprt.

1> baseball

2> consider

3> absolutely

4> sport

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I've been wanting to ask this question and now seems the perfect opportunity:

Is Dyslexia real, or just a phenomenon caused by bad education that is blamed on some made up disease? Ever since I had first heard of Dyslexia at a young age I thought it sounded bogus, because it made no sense to me that words would appear jumbled and backwards but the rest of your vision would be perfect.

The part of the brain the processes the word may not be the same as the part that processes the background. I don't see that as presenting a conflict.

I could understand if the individual had difficulty comprehending shapes or patterns in general, but the idea that purely words will get jumbled in your brain sounds like garbage to me. That would be like saying you could look at a pattern of sticks on the ground and comprehend it perfectly fine, but the moment someone rearranges them into a letter or word suddenly they become mixed up and disordered by your brain. I don't think it is possible for a physiological disease in your brain to selectively find letters in the universe and then mix them up, but then allow for perfect visual compensation of everything else.

I think that others with experience with this problem have alluded to the fact that the problem doesn't just affect words. It affect other things such as directions also.

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I could understand if the individual had difficulty comprehending shapes or patterns in general, but the idea that purely words will get jumbled in your brain sounds like garbage to me. That would be like saying you could look at a pattern of sticks on the ground and comprehend it perfectly fine, but the moment someone rearranges them into a letter or word suddenly they become mixed up and disordered by your brain. I don't think it is possible for a physiological disease in your brain to selectively find letters in the universe and then mix them up, but then allow for perfect visual compensation of everything else.

I'll avoid going into detailed anatomical or cognitive research descriptions, but dyslexia, if it is appropriately diagnosed, is a genuine cognitive disorder (not a disease). I remember a former colleague tried to use the existence of the general term 'dyslexia' as a means of proof that the mind is divided from or separated from the body/matter.

The traditional classification of various learning difficulties was derived from behavioral rather than neural symptoms, and that it is a language-based disorder rather than a motor disorder. I am glad research in the past 5 to 6 years has scientifically shown what we know philosophically about the long-supposed division between mind and matter, but would like to stress the standard diagnostic measures still used today, despite scientifically-sound research, are still on a behavioral and cognitive level, and therefore are incapable of differentiating between functional differences in the efficiency and use of neural systems.

If members like ifatart are interested in creating an Objectivist body of research on the neuroscience of learning, there is a great deal of work to do in redefining and integrating (for the neuroscience, psychologist and learning disability specialists) the existing research that show (anatomically and functionally) the intertwined disorder types, time courses and neural circuits/networks into actual diagnostic practices.

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I believe you also need context to read the paragraph.

What are each of these words?

Out of context:

1> bsblaeal

2> coisnedr

3> alelobtusy

4> soprt

The same words in context:

I alelobtusy coisnedr bsblaeal a soprt.

1> baseball

2> consider

3> absolutely

4> sport

Thales, nice experiment, you're completely right. A-contextually, you look at the words and they could be anything. Put them together, and you can piece the meaning even without the spoiler.

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Thales, nice experiment, you're completely right. A-contextually, you look at the words and they could be anything. Put them together, and you can piece the meaning even without the spoiler.

Thanks for confirming that. :lol: One of the curious things about this sort of problem is that if you write the sentence, then you aren't sure how the experiment will work, because you already know what the sentence is supposed to say. In other words, you can't test yourself, unless you write it and come back to it a long time afterwards having forgotten what you had written.

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I believe you also need context to read the paragraph.

I second that, you make a eloquent demonstration of the importance of context in word recognition. After a couple minutes consideration I was only able to piece together 3 of the 4 words. Whereas the full sentence and Free Capitalist's paragraph became obvious after only slight hesitation.

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Well the interesting thing about the first post is not that it's how children learn how to spell words, but that after you learn to spell something properly, your brain doesn't even need it to have any coherent structure of letters, just the correct first and last letters, for you to understand it properly. I found that fascinating.

It's an idea worth a lot of gold and sliver.

(Read that carefully!) :lol:

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I believe you also need context to read the paragraph.

What are each of these words?

Out of context:

1> bsblaeal

2> coisnedr

3> alelobtusy

4> soprt

The same words in context:

I alelobtusy coisnedr bsblaeal a soprt.

1> baseball

2> consider

3> absolutely

4> sport

Interesting. I wonder if this could help solve cryptograms by putting them in sentences.

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