Here is an interesting exercise that shows how an earlier reader will perceive a text differently (and in this case more accurately) than many experienced, competent readers.
You may have already seen it as it has been around for quite a while. It came to my attention when one of the Fast ForWord founding scientists published it recently.
Read the sentence below and see how you compare to a year one student:
Why don't you catch the double "the" right away, when a young child most likely would?
It has to do with your brain's experience level at reading. An inexperienced or learning reader would almost always see the extra "the" because new readers tend to read word by word, taking in every syllable as a discrete chunk of information. With that approach, catching the extra"the" would occur.
However, experienced readers like you take in phrases and sentences in groups. Since our brains are not expecting there to be two instances of the word "the" in a row, when we process the phrase as a whole, our brains ignore it.
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