Sunday, January 12, 2014

What Did I Just Type?

While I might know the answer to that question if I look back and reread the previous words, I may not know if I just rely on the motions of my fingers -- because according to a study done at Vanderbilt University, my brain doesn't know what they were doing while they were doing it.

First study subjects did a standard typing test. Then they were shown a blank QWERTY keyboard and given 80 seconds to write the letters in their proper spaces. While the typing test showed high levels of accuracy, especially for trained typists, the average number of correctly placed keys on the blank board was just 15. In other words, the fingers know what to do even when the brain doesn't.

The study author is a graduate student named Kristy Smith, working in the psychology department. But she shows how her findings have a much wider application with her quote: "This demonstrates that we’re capable of doing extremely complicated things without knowing explicitly what we are doing."

If there is a better description of the operation of the federal government in the 21st century I cannot imagine it. Nor, for that matter, can my fingers.

No comments: