It’s something we’ve been doing forever but according to science, we’re doing it wrong.
Researchers at John Hopkins University have discovered most people can’t recognise the letter ‘G’, and yes, it’s as silly as it sounds.
The letter becomes an issue when it’s viewed in lowercase, with scientists believing it all comes down the fact we’re taught to write the letter differently to how it appears when we type it out.
And it’s the typed version we don’t pay much attention to, which leaves a lot of people stumped.
Even if people do recognise the typed the letter in a line-up of false ‘g’s’, they generally have no idea how to write it out.
Pop quiz: Our cognitive scientists explored why most people can read this common printed version of the letter “g”, yet had trouble writing it when prompted. Can you guess which of the four versions in the video is the correct “looptail g”? . . #CognitiveScience #LooptailG #JHU #JohnsHopkinsAdvertisement
“We think that if we look at something enough, especially if we have to pay attention to its shape as we do during reading, then we would know what it looks like. But our results suggest that’s not always the case,” explained cognitive scientist and the study’s senior author, Michael McCloskey, as reported by the Mirror.
“What we think may be happening here is that we learn the shapes of most letters in part because we have to write them in school. ‘Looptail g’ is something we’re never taught to write, so we may not learn its shape as well.”
And according to the study, most people don’t even recognise there are two different ways the letter ‘g’ appears when in lowercase.
The university asked 38 people to list letters which had two varieties in lowercase, and only two named the letter ‘g’. That’s it. Two.
“Once you really nudged them on, insisting there are two types of ‘g’, some would still insist there is no second ‘g’,” said another one of the study’s authors and a junior undergraduate at the university, Kimberly Wong.
LISTEN: Science says it’s better being single. Post continues below.
Forget writing it out, too. The study found only half of the participants could actually write a looptail ‘g’, even after having studied it for a period of time.
“They don’t entirely know what this letter looks like, even though they can read it,” said co-author and graduate student Gali Ellenblum.
Be right back, we’re going back to school for a do-over.