In our puzzle this week we set you the following challenge…
The answer is in the the question!
So why does our brain skip something so simple as a repeated word in a sentence?
A study from 2011 ( Eye movements and word skipping during reading: Effects of word length and predictability ) found that two important factors that increased word skipping rates were the length of the word and the predictability of the word due to contextual constraints.
Both cases apply on the word ‘the‘, because it is short and highly predictable, being a common adjective and in fact one of the most used words in the English language. In other words, besides being short and predictable, it is also a very common word that has relatively little impact on the meaning of a sentence.