May 29, 2009


Some of you might have come across the F Puzzle. Those who haven’t, please try it now before you read any further:

Count all the F ‘s you can find in the red coloured passage
(The answer will be revealed as you read the rest of it)

Ever heard of Susan Boyle? She is a matronly, frumpy looking lady who wanted to try her hand at a show called “Britain’s Got Talent”. When she came on stage, most judges thought she was going to be another freak show because she dint look the part. Anyways, cue music and she started to sing. Lo and behold, an awesome and inspiring voice – the kind which can take you over the mountains and seas! And the judges, spellbound took her on! You can see this for yourself here.

It happens so many times isn’t it? When we see people, we would expect them to be of a certain type. But if we get a chance to know them better, we are sometimes quite taken by surprise. I am a student of Psychology and I had a lesson on why people “judge a book by its cover”. Its a shortcut for us to perceive things faster. Imagine if every time, you wanted to read a word, you read all the letters in the word individually? That would mean it would probably take a couple of hours to read this article! ; The human mind develops short cuts so that we can read faster. As with all shortcuts, mistales are bound to happen – because we think they are foolproof but they are not.

In the game you tried above, most people might have guessed 3 letters. Well, I did. But the answer is 6 – the F’s in “of” is genrally not considered by our engine. 🙂 In fact we skip commonly used words like prepositions, articles etc.

This is one example of shortcuts backfiring. Similarly, the way we judge people through shortcuts also have chances to backfire. Even judging certain events to have certain outcomes is a victim of failure. When we judge correctly a couple times rightly, we think we are great at judging – but our nature is such that we dont count the number of times our predictions/judgements were wrong. We only think of instances where we were right and hence we feel our judgement is accurate.

Its human nature to judge a book by it cover. But knowing its pitfalls and the “free radical” type errors that it creates, it is best to keep an open mind. As much as we are aware, let us strive to keep judging people by their backgrounds or even judging oneself based on past events. A human being is a persona in motion. What a person is now, the person may not be in future.


2 Responses to “Perspectives”

  1. Amitha said

    Gud one!!!! While we are at the games our mind plays (the psychology part)… there is another version to it…. wrd-wnnng cntnt mngmnt systm……. where our brain provides the missing vowels and we are able to read without much difficulty.

    About keeping an open mind…. i am with you!!!

  2. […] 3. A lot people dismiss a lot others as worthless because of  appearances. Well, its their loss – they might just have missed a best friend, a genius, a future hero or just a regular nice person. I had written about judging a book by its cover here. […]

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