In Letter to Nature, NYU and Syracuse neuroscientists prove that we read by detecting simple features
Do we visually recognize things -- words or faces -- by wholes or by parts? Denis Pelli of New York University and Bart Farell of Syracuse University have answered that question in their forthcoming Letter to Nature. Their article, "The Remarkable Inefficiency of Word Recognition," is accompanied by a "News and Views" piece discussing their work.
Using the example of letters and words, Pelli and Farell prove that we read by detecting simple features. This makes word recognition very inefficient. Even for the five most common three letter words -- the, and, was, for, him -- people cannot read the word unless the features of each letter are identifiable. The features in question are simple, much smaller than a letter.
Shonna Keogan | EurekAlert!
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