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Rooks Heath College

Rooks Heath College

Opportunity through Learning

BBC Reports by 8 Green

Spelling? Does it matter or not?

Can you really read words even if only the first and the last letter are in order and the rest are jumbled up?

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.

Or rather...

According to a researcher 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 is clearly wrong. For instance, compare the following three sentences:

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

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

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

All three sentences were randomized according to the "rules" described in the meme (an image, video, piece of text, typically humorous in nature, often with slight variations, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users). The first and last letters have stayed in the same place and all the other letters have been moved. However, I think that your experience is the same as mine, which is that the texts get progressively more difficult to read.

Hopefully, these demonstrations will have convinced you that in some cases it can be very difficult to make sense of sentences with jumbled up words. Clearly, the first and last letter is not the only thing that you use when reading text. If this really was the case, how would you tell the difference between pairs of words like "salt" and "slat"?

I'm going to list some of the ways in which I think that the author(s) of this meme might have manipulated the jumbled text to make it relatively easy to read.

The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm... the rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem

This sentence is, like the rest of the demonstration, strikingly easy to read despite being jumbled. As you have seen above, not all sentences jumbled up in the same way are as easy as this to read. What is it that makes this sentence so easy? Here are some reasons why:

1) Short words are easy - 2 or 3 letter words don't change at all. The only change that is possible in a 4 letter words is to swap the order of the middle letters which doesn't cause too much difficulty.

2) Function words (the, be, and, you etc.) stay the same - mostly because they are short words. This really helps the reader by keeping the grammatical structure sort of the same, helping you to work out what word is likely to come next. This is really important for reading jumbled text - words that are predictable are going to be easier to read in this situation.

3) Out of the 15 words in this sentence, there are 8 that are still in the correct order. However, as a reader you might not notice this since many of the words that remain intact are function words, which readers don't tend to notice when reading. For instance, when people are asked to detect individual letters in a sentence, they are more likely to miss letters in function words.

4) Transpositions of adjacent letters (e.g. porbelm for problem) are easier to read than more distant transpositions (e.g. pborlem). We know from research in which people read words presented very briefly on a computer screen that the exterior letters of words are easier to detect than middle letters - confirming one of the ideas present in the meme. We also know that position information for letters in the middle of words is more difficult to detect and that those errors that are made tend to be transpositions.

5) None of the words that have reordered letters create another word (wouthit vs witohut). We know from examples before that words that can be confused by swapping interior letters (e.g. salt and slat) are more difficult to read. To make an easy to read jumbled word you should therefore avoid making other words.

6) Transpositions were used that preserve the sound of the original word (e.g. toatl vs ttaol for total). This will assist in reading, since we often attend to the sound of the words even when reading for meaning.

7) The text is reasonably predictable. For instance, given the first few words of the sentence, you can guess what words are coming next (even with very little information from the letters in the word). We know that information plays an important role in understanding speech that is distorted or presented in noise, the same is probably true for written text that has been jumbled.

So it really depends on what words are being used, if they’ve been jumbled up enough or if they can actually spell out other words, this meme is both true and false, but mainly false with a few exceptions put exactly the right way.

By Isobel


Why people play video games?

People may say that they play video games because they’re fun, but there is a much more complex answer than meets the eye as there are actually three different types of reasons for why people play.

  1. Socialising: lots of people play video games as a socialising experience and team building. These types of people enjoy playing with other people and having a great time. This also includes playing against your friends and having a great time. Games that involve teamwork like League of Legends and Team Fortress 2 are normally great for these type of players.
  2. Choice: others play games for the choice involved. For example having a choice in a game makes it feel like you’re shaping the digital world around you (some developers just deceive you into thinking you have a choice when you don’t). Lots of designers make these choices seem valuable. Choice also reflects open world games as you can chose the order you perform things giving players a huge amount of choice and making them believe that they are shaping the world around them. To conclude, people who like choice in games enjoy games like Skyrim and games that involve greater dialogue choice.
  3. Challenge: players who want challenge in their games, normally enjoy platformer and strategy games. These people love the challenge and will probably never give up when playing a game. They also learn from their mistakes which is a key element in platformer and strategy games. These people also like completing everything and unlocking all rewards. Furthermore, a great thing about these people is that they are normally quiet, calm and collected. Games like this would involve Fire Emblem and Shovel Knight.

To conclude - why you play a video game has a much more complex answer than meets the eye. This article is not saying that you cannot enjoy games in different categories, but suggests that you will probably prefer one category over another.

By Sam


Why do people swear?

To answer that question first need to define what a swear word is.

By definition, swear words are offensive. If a word, over time, stops to be offensive, then it falls out of use as a swear word. Offence alone is not enough, though, for we can offend with language without swearing. The N-word, for example, is what is called a slur: it is an insulting term about an entire group. It is profoundly offensive, but it is not a swear word.

Philosopher Rebecca Roache says that as well as the ingredient of offence, swear words tend to have a lot of other characteristics. We will often use swear words "to vent some emotion", she says. "If you're angry or particularly happy, swearing is a emotion. Swearing also centers on taboos. Around the world swear words will tend to cluster around certain topics: lavatorial matters, sex, religion."

There's also a double component to swearing, says Roache. "As well as being taboo-breaking, swear words are taboo-breaking for the sake of taboo-breaking. The whole point is that you're not allowed to use them, but they exist just for that rule to be broken." Words develop their power over time; it's a historical process. In the past, many swear words were linked to religion. But as countries like Britain have become increasingly less religious, curses such as "Damn" and "Jesus Christ", have begun to lose their force. The Times leader writer, Oliver Kamm says that the swear words are now drawn less from religion and more from body unpleasantness. "There's a rank of unpleasantness, according to how disgusting we find them in public. 'S**t' is worse than 'p**s' which is worse than 'fart' which is worse than 'spit' which is not a taboo word at all. It's an interesting language theory that the taboos relate to how disease-ridden or dangerous or disgusting we find the unpleasantness themselves."

The emotional release from swearing has been measured in a variety of ways. It turns out that swearing helps reduce pain. It is easier to keep an arm in ice-cold-water for longer if you keep swearing at the same time. And those who speak more than one language report that swearing in their first language is more satisfying, carrying as it does, a bigger emotional punch.

In one study people were divided into two groups – one group swearing, the other not swearing - then asked to put their hands in very cold water.

It was found that almost two thirds of the group who did swear managed to keep their hands in the water for a longer period of time than those who didn't swear.

In other words swearing was found to make pain more bearable. This is another reason why people swear. It’s because emotional pain can be eased by swearing.

A study has found that rejection activates the same brain areas in the brain associated with physical pain and this is why people who swear when they get emotionally distressed report feeling better.

All of the previous facts apply to people who swear once every while but why are there people who swear and curse all the time?

1) They are charged with negativity all the time: The person who lives in continues stress, who is angry at the world and the one who is always emotionally distressed will always have extra negative energy that he or she wants to get rid of and that's why he or she keeps swearing all the time.

2) To get an identity: Some people engage in bad behavior such as swearing because they want to gain a certain identity. Some guys want to appear like bad boys, some women want to appear less fragile, while some men want to appear tougher. All of these needs can motivate people to swear and curse believing that such an action can help them meet these goals.

3) To protect themselves: The ones who get hurt the most are usually the ones who push people away the most. Some people want to protect themselves from others by keeping a distance. Those people might either become cold, unfriendly, bullies or they can sometimes swear a lot in order to scare people away.

By Isobel


Why do people play violent video games and how does it affect us?

Why people play violent video games?

Lots of people play violent video games for 3 reasons

  1. A sense of growing up: lots of people play these games because they are labelled as ‘mature’ and more grown up which gives younger gamers a sense of being older and they feel better about it. Furthermore, many people are introduced to these games by an older relative meaning they start to believe they are on the same level as the older relative by playing the same game
  2. Socialising: because these games are consistently breaking sales records everyone has them and because of that, people can play with their friends and socialise outside of school. What sets these games apart is the fact that so many people have them and also have large multiplayer modes making it easier to link together.
  3. Fitting in: all it takes is for that popular kid to buy GTA/COD then everyone else gets to be friends with the cool kid. The popular kid it the trend setter everyone else will follow the trend to fit in and be friends with the popular kid. Although, there are always a few people who ignore the trend but unfortunately this is how high school works.

How it affects us.

Violent video games have two main affects, the first of which does not affect everyone the second of which affects everyone.

  1. Difficulty in concentrating: when you use a bright screen just before bed it makes it harder to sleep. It is worse for violent video games as people have all the worst images in said game in their head making it harder to sleep. This is worse for people of a timid nature as it is more likely to scare them.
  2. Long term affects: if you play these video games for extended periods of time the violent tendencies can make a negative impact on the player. This is a very long process and can take months but once it sinks in it could quite possibly be with you for the rest of your childhood. For example a game I played way too much had a great sound track and because I listened to it multiple times I now have the best songs stuck in my head. The same applies for violent video games except instead of songs it could be swearing and violent tendencies.

By no means does this happen to everyone and also this article is not hating on violent video games as they can all be very enjoyable I am just pointing out some of the long and short term effects of these games.

By Sam