It seems the bogus "Cambridge University Study" concerning shuffled words is making the rounds again, and this is one bit of crapola I never tire of debunking. Here is a typical depiction:
"From Cambridge University .
O lny srmat poelpe can raed tihs.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, t he olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rgh it pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs psas it on !!"
That this piece of obvious claptrap continues to impress is testimony not only to the ever sagging education level of Americans, but also to our ever-growing anti-intellectualism that gives more and more benefit of the doubt to anything that promises to validate ignorance and basic intellectual laziness. It is flawed in every way. I've never been able to confirm that such a study was ever done at Cambridge, but if it was, and this description accurately portrayed their findings, everyone associated with the study out to be booted from serious intellectual circles.
If we truly read words as a whole, then why must the first and last letters be fixed? Why can't the entire word be scrambled? And what exactly does "as a whole" mean anyway? How can one see a word as a whole without seeing the letters in it?
In a way this is a cheap magician's trick, because the only reason people can read the scrambled words is because they aren't very scrambled. Fixing the first and last letters means 2 and 3 letter words don't change at all, and 4 letter words just swap the middle letters. That's the bulk of our vocabulary. Try making a sentence with very long words, and our ability to read words "as a whole" mysteriously vanishes. To wit:
Bblaaesl pryleas pnmrrioefg sllaimy aeoulltsby dvrseee clbrpmaaoe tteenmrat.
is incomprehensible, because now every word is truly scrambled, with the first and last letters being an insignificant proportion of the total. So sorry all of you that thought you had academic backing to your poor spelling and grammar skills. They do matter, because baseball players performing similarly absolutely deserve comparable treatment.