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astro
06-07-2009, 09:12 PM
Count every ' F ' in the following text:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS...

How many do you count? Click on spoiler box below for the answer.

How many F's? ...... No, there are 6, read it again.

Sir T-Cups
06-07-2009, 09:14 PM
So weird.....how do I miss it the first time

Johnny L.A.
06-07-2009, 09:14 PM
Uh... That's what I got. What did you assume I got?

MsWhich
06-07-2009, 09:14 PM
I don't get it. The answer I came up with was the same one in your spoiler box.

Q.E.D.
06-07-2009, 09:17 PM
We've done this one several times previously, though it's next to impossible to search for. The upshot is some study found people tend to overlook some or all of the Fs in the occurrences of the word "of" and therefor undercount.

astro
06-07-2009, 10:01 PM
We've done this one several times previously, though it's next to impossible to search for. The upshot is some study found people tend to overlook some or all of the Fs in the occurrences of the word "of" and therefor undercount.

I completely missed the "OF" F's in my initial readings of the sentence. It's like they didn't even exist, and I was looking for them. It's interesting how your mind scans text when reading. It really is more of a sort of a mental gestalt process than a linear "read" of the text.

Johnny L.A.
06-07-2009, 10:03 PM
You didn't say to read the line of text, but to count the Fs.

astro
06-07-2009, 10:11 PM
You didn't say to read the line of text, but to count the Fs.

Oh I was looking for and counting the F's and missed them when they were attached to the OF's.

Johnny L.A.
06-07-2009, 10:12 PM
I didn't read the words. I scanned the string for Fs.

Q.E.D.
06-07-2009, 10:13 PM
It appears to be a shortened version of this exercise (http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/cause/interactive/examples/18173.html) which is intended to demonstrate the difficulty in obtaining accurate data under pressure.

Unfortunately, many websites have taken it and distilled it down to the version in the OP and frequently conclude with some variant of the ridiculous claim that the human brain cannot process the word "of."

IvoryTowerDenizen
06-07-2009, 10:14 PM
Count every ' F ' in the following text:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS...

How many do you count? Click on spoiler box below for the answer.

How many F's? ...... No, there are 6, read it again.

Got 6....

John DiFool
06-07-2009, 11:24 PM
I teach phonics to little kids, and always point out that "of" breaks the rules, what with an "o" which sounds like a "u", and an "f" which disguises itself with a "v" sound. So it didn't get me.

SenorBeef
06-07-2009, 11:29 PM
I've heard this used as a demonstration of being left or right brain dominant - if you're left brained and vocal you read it in your head and "of" sounds like "uv" and doesn't register as an F, whereas if you're right brained you visually look for the F so you count it.

Edit: It's probably BS.

Strangely, I knew what the gimmick was, and quickly visually scanned the sentence and still got 3 because I ignored "of" - weird.

Johnny L.A.
06-07-2009, 11:41 PM
So you're saying I'm in my right mind?

:D

Fantome
06-07-2009, 11:55 PM
We've done this one several times previously, though it's next to impossible to search for. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22FINISHED+FILES%22+site%3Astraightdope.com&btnG=Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

06-08-2009, 12:32 AM

Nice. Good to know.

panache45
06-08-2009, 03:27 AM
There are 7 . . . 6 in the line typed in all caps, and 1 in the next line.

(It says "in the following text," not "in the following line.")

06-08-2009, 02:01 PM
My answer ranged from 6 to 10 depending on how I interpreted the instructions.

Dolores Reborn
06-08-2009, 02:04 PM
I got five - I missed the last "of." :smack:

mr. jp
06-08-2009, 02:41 PM
I got 9

06-08-2009, 02:46 PM
I didn't read the words. I scanned the string for Fs.Ditto.

I got 9I got 27. I win.

mr. jp
06-08-2009, 02:48 PM
Actually, the one in the spoiler box should count too. So 10. Pretty tricky problem.

Terraplane
06-08-2009, 03:31 PM
I knew it was going to be some kind of trick thing, ran the mouse cursor over every word to make sure I got them all, and my brain still glossed over every f in 'of'.

Stupid brain...:(

Chessic Sense
06-08-2009, 04:24 PM
When I read the thread title, I said to myself "Be sure to count the 'of's." Sure enough, that was the trick. I got 5 twice. Missed the last "of". As a corollary, I like the following:

In the United States of
of America, the president is
is the Commander in
in Chief of the
the Armed Forces.

What's wrong with that statement?

Indistinguishable
06-08-2009, 04:29 PM
I knew it was going to be some kind of trick thing, ran the mouse cursor over every word to make sure I got them all, and my brain still glossed over every f in 'of'.

Stupid brain...:(
Same.

Rysto
06-08-2009, 04:55 PM
I got 5. I missed scientific. :smack:

AppallingGael
06-08-2009, 05:01 PM
I got 5. I missed scientific. :smack:

The first time I saw this, I missed the ones in "of".

waterj2
06-08-2009, 05:18 PM
I got 5. I missed scientific. :smack:Me too. Skipped the "of"s the first read through, then immediately went back for them, but got must have been so determined on not skipping them that I never noticed that scientific has an f.

06-08-2009, 05:37 PM
I counted everything after the colon and got 6.

Markxxx
06-08-2009, 05:37 PM
I got six but I was thinking one of the E's was mispelled as F and my mind was just missing it

Dusty Rose
06-08-2009, 05:41 PM
I cheated. When proof-reading, I always start at the last word, and work my way back. It forces me to focus on each word instead of sliding into the reading habit. And, yes, I got 6. :)

whitetho
06-08-2009, 05:52 PM
Even knowing this required careful review, I missed all three in "of". So, where does that mean my brain tumor is located?

schnuckiputzi
06-08-2009, 07:26 PM
I got all six, but I'm used to grading spelling tests...

Malleus, Incus, Stapes!
06-08-2009, 09:49 PM
I was looking for this. I saw it a long time ago, and I wanted to show it to my friends, but I couldn't recall the text.

And yes, I got 3. :o

Boyo Jim
06-09-2009, 11:53 AM
I win. I got zero. There are no Fs with quote marks aound them in the sentence. :p

Ann Hedonia
06-09-2009, 11:57 AM
Count every ' F ' in the following text:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS...

How many do you count? Click on spoiler box below for the answer.

How many F's? ...... No, there are 6, read it again.

Ah, I remember attending my first motivational sales seminar...................

They all throw this one at you or something similar. It did get me the first time, though.

TruCelt
06-09-2009, 11:58 AM
I got 5. I missed scientific. :smack:

Me too. Double :smack:

06-09-2009, 12:29 PM
I got six. I've done this type of test before. I always start at the end of the sentence and scan backwards.

Snickers
06-09-2009, 01:19 PM
When I read the thread title, I said to myself "Be sure to count the 'of's." Sure enough, that was the trick. I got 5 twice. Missed the last "of". As a corollary, I like the following:

In the United States of
of America, the president is
is the Commander in
in Chief of the
the Armed Forces.

What's wrong with that statement?

There's a whole lotta extra articles, prepositions, and be-verbs?

Cliffy
06-09-2009, 03:20 PM
What's wrong with that statement?

He's actually "commander in chief of the Army and Navy"?

--Cliffy

ashman165
06-09-2009, 04:23 PM
Count every ' F ' in the following text:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS...

How many do you count? Click on spoiler box below for the answer.

How many F's? ...... No, there are 6, read it again.

Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but when asked to scan text for a letter, I just scan it backwards, like how I used to edit my papers as a child.

Incidentally, in the link provided about the longer version, I was quite proud of myself that I was able to count to 34.

Q.E.D.
06-09-2009, 04:30 PM
In the United States of
of America, the president is
is the Commander in
in Chief of the
the Armed Forces.

What's wrong with that statement?

I'm seeing double! :P

jharvey963
06-10-2009, 04:14 PM
Another pretty amazing attention test is demonstrated here: