Hehe...the fact that the human brain is such a groovy thing...!
There's a little bit o' research and commentary on this phenomenon at Typographica.
It's all a very interesting area in communication to me. I wonder if languages with a lot of umlauts and accents & those types of distinguishing characteristics be less susceptible to this? And for pictogram languages, would distorting interior lines or less important regions in the glyphs or sets of glyphs have the same effect, or no?
Also, if I'm not mistaken, we rely more heavily on the top of the word forms (a la my attachment--the top word should be a lot more readable than the bottom even though they show the same amount of the word form). It'd also seem to me that mixing up lower case As, Es, Os and whatnot probably wouldn't much matter, but letters with extenders or descenders probably are a lot more critical. Least, I'd think so. I guess this all has to do with the Gestalt theory that I should'o paid more attention to in school. :-p
Iltnsegnetiry I'm sdutynig tihs crsrootaivnel pnoheenmon at the Dptmnearet of Liuniigctss at Absytrytewh Uivsreitny and my exartrnairdoy doisiervecs waleoetderhlhy cndairotct the picsbeliud fdnngiis rrgdinaeg the rtlvaeie dfuictlify of ialtnstny ttalrisanng steennces. My rsceeerhars deplveeod a cnionevent ctnoiaptorn at hnasoa/tw.nartswdbvweos/utrtep:k./il taht dosnatterems that the hhpsteyios uuiqelny wrtaarns criieltidby if the aoussmpitn that the prreoecandpne of your wrods is not eendetxd is uueniqtolnabse. Aoilegpos for aidnoptg a cdocianorttry vwpiienot but, ttoheliacrley spkeaing, lgitehnneng the words can mnartafucue an iocnuurgons samenttet that is vlrtiauly isbpilechmoenrne.
Or, if you prefer...
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