eli5 : why is it so difficult for the the human to comprehend that there the word “the” was repeated?



eli5 : why is it so difficult for the the human to comprehend that there the word “the” was repeated?

In: Other

Because our brain skips over it because we instinctively know it was unnecessary and a mistake

It’s the mechanics of reading and pattern recognition.

When starting to read you focus, matter by letter and sound out the word.

Then you upgrade to sight words. You no longer read the individual letters. You recognize the word itself, like you recognize a person’s face without having to examine every feature in detail.

And it’s weird, as you can quickly read words and sentences even if the letters are scrambled. You only need the first and last in place, while the rest are scrambled. Your brain is trained to handle this as misspellings are to be accounted for and corrected to but don’t change the meaning of the word.

For emalxpe you slouhd be albe to raed tihs wiouht to mcuh tbruole.

For adept readers this extends to chunking sentences. Entire phrases are sight read, without examining the individual words. Words that are structural, but don’t change the meaning of a phrase, and are common, are easily treated as background.

The brain is looking for differences in the phrase that change the meaning, and an extra of, or missing the doesn’t pass the threshold of importance.

It’s like recognizing your wife but not noticing her new hairstyle.

When we read, our brains make a lot of assumptions for the sake of efficiency. Tihs is the smae rsaoesn you can unadrtasnd tihs sntcneee. You miss the the extra “the” because your brain assumes the next word will be a noun, and has no reason to notice that it has been repeated and simply skips it, looking for the word that should follow.


imagine the human out in the savannah – its more efficient to analyze and see the important bits rather than analyze images in full detail each moment you turn your head – your reaction speed will be so slow! this then translates to reading – ( which is really quite an artifical task ) – we tend to just read the sentence as a whole.

Who else had to re-read this too many times?