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Most People Can’t Recognize the Lower Case Letter G

A golden foil “g” sits on top of a yellow background, surrounded by Scrabble pieces.
Source: Canva

How do you write the letter “g”? According to UNILAD, there is a single, “most correct” way to do it — and most people can’t recognize the correct “g” in a set of them. While this may seem trivial in light of all of the other scientific mysteries, it isn’t — and it can actually reveal a lot about a person’s perspective. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have researched this phenomenon, rolling out the “g” assertion in 2018. Here’s what we know.

Per UNILAD, researchers from the prestigious university have found that it is possible to mistake the “correct” form of “g,” even if you’ve been reading and writing for quite some time. 


How Did Researchers Find Out About The “G” Mistakes? 

To find and confirm this hypothesis, scientists at Johns Hopkins presented research participants with four “g’s,” placed next to each other in a grid square. They then asked the participants to choose the correct form of the lowercase “g.” 


While the variations are present, they are incredibly sight — and can really only be noticed if you’re being intentionally focused and observant. 


The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, quizzed 38 total participants over the course of the research. Once concluded, co-author and scientist Gail Ellenblum released a short quote on the findings, stating that “They (participants) don’t entirely know what this letter looks like, even though they can read it.” 


Despite the fact that many students were enrolled in similar courses that used similar curriculums, a senior author of the study (Michael McCloskey) believes that the problem could originate in the classroom. 


“What we think may be happening here is that we learn the shapes of most letters…because we have to write them in school. ‘Looptail g’s’ (are) something we’re never taught to write, so we may not learn its shape as well,” he told UNILAD.


Beyond the possible role that the school system has to play in letter knowledge and awareness, McCloskey had a second theory: and it involves the frequency of use of electronic devices as one develops. 


The scientist went on record with UNILAD, stating that those who grow up using electronic devices (or the internet in general) could experience disadvantages as they learn how to read. “Do they have a little bit more trouble with this form of “G” because they haven’t been forced to pay attention to it and write it?” he questioned. “We could ask whether children have some reading disadvantage with this form of “G” (as well).” 


Curious about what the correct letter “g” really is? Take a look at the image in this article. We’ve included it for you — but is it the one you would have picked? Let us know!


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