AMID growing influence of technological gadgets in our lives, most of don’t even know what a correct lowercase ‘g’ looks like.
A new study has revealed that a surprising number of adults were unable to pick out a ‘looptail’ G from a line up – with many unaware that the letter’s two printed forms exist at all. Scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore suggested that the phenomenon likely occurs because we are not taught the looptail form at school – despite the letter being used in most novels, magazines and newspapers.
Lead author of the study Professor Michael McCloskey said: ‘We think that if we look at something enough, especially if we have to pay attention to shape as we do during reading, then we would know what it looks like, but our results suggest that’s not always the case.
An experiment was conducted with 25 participants taking a multiple-choice test where they were asked to pick the looptail G-from a line p of four similar characters. Only seven people picked out the correct answer.
Study co-author Gali Ellenblum said: ‘They don’t entirely know what this letter looks like, even though they can read it. This is not true of letters in general.’ The experiments suggest our knowledge of letters can suffer when we don’t write them by hand. As we write less and become more dependent on electronic devices, this could impact how we learn to read, according to the researchers.