How sharp are your eyes? Back in the day, we had “Where’s Waldo” books to keep our visual sense of perceptions sharp. Now all we have is the internet. Here’s a hidden-character challenge that’s gone viral to test all you eagle eyes out there.
To make it more interesting, set a timer for 10 seconds and see how many of the letter Ts you can find hidden in the sea of 7s in the pictogram below. Whenever you’re ready, get your timer started and start hunting!
Only 10 seconds, now … no cheating!
So, how many did you find hidden amidst the 7s? Looking at the seemingly endless rows of 7s, it can be a bit of a task figuring out where to start and not to count the same Ts twice. If you don’t have a strategy, like working from left to right, or else working from top to bottom, it’s easy to get lost in the field of repetitive white lines.
Counting from from left to right, you should have spotted a lone T in the first row, 3 Ts in the second, none in the third, 2 Ts in the fourth, 1 in the fifth, 3 in the sixth line, and 2 in the last line. This gives you a grand total of 12.
Many people online found it straightforward, while others had a hard time with the letters and numbers blurring together. One quizzer commented, “I found 12 fast and I am 81 years old! Young kids should find them in 5 seconds!”
Another social media user joked, “In 10 seconds only found 5 but getting new specs from specsavers next week so who knows.”
A fellow humorist responded, “Never knew I was so smart. Wish these were the test given when I was in school!”
Interestingly enough, the puzzle has more than just entertainment value, as it tests the brain’s ability to make sense of numbers and letters. A study by the Basque Research Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language analyzed the way that the comparative role of letters and words create meaning.
By testing participants’ ability to recognize words in which certain letters were replaced with numbers, they showed that an understanding of the word helped people recognize it visually. The experimenters used the word MATERIAL as an example and found that our ability to recognize letters in a variety of forms led “to the recognition of a word even when numbers that resemble letters are inserted among other real letters (e.g., M4TERI4L).”
The study’s lead author, Nicola Molinaro told Science Daily that “[t]he global processing of words is very similar for strings that include letters that are properly written and for those including numbers that are visually similar to letters.”
Some people, however suffer from dyscalculia, a condition that means they have a brain-related difficulty in reading and understanding numbers. For them, puzzles like the one we tried today might be what they see on a daily basis when they look at big groups of numbers.
Numeronyms, hacker language, and texting language have all contributed to an increasing use of numbers and letters alongside each other. In his book “Txting: The Gr8 Db8,” linguist David Crystal notes that human language has been constantly pushed forward by new forms of communication, and that meaning will survive despite the changes to spelling.
So h3r3’s 2 the future!