Research has shown that fixation times (the average time in seconds spent looking at a word) for common, high-frequency words, such as “the” and “of,” are shorter than for low-frequency words, and that the fixation position of an article-noun pair is often near the beginning of the noun, rather than at the blank space between the words.1
As a result, high-frequency connector words such as “the,” “of” and “and” are often skipped during reading, leading people to fail to notice the repeated words in situations such as the triangle above.2
What might happen if you missed an important word on a medication?
1 Inhoff AW, Rayner K. Parafoveal word processing during eye fixation in reading: Effects of word frequency. Percept Psychophys. 1986;40(6):431-439.
2 Rayner K. Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psychol Bull. 1998;124(3):372-422.
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