Study gives new meaning to ‘let your fingers do the walking’

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Posted on December 5, 2013
Study gives new meaning to 'let your fingers do the walking'
Participant filling in as many key positions as he can in 80 seconds. Credit: Joe Howell / Vanderbilt
When you are typing away at your computer, you don’t know what your fingers are really doing. That is the conclusion of a study conducted by a team of cognitive psychologists at Vanderbilt and Kobe Universities. It found that skilled typists can’t identify the positions of many of the keys on the QWERTY keyboard and that novice typists don’t appear to learn key locations in the first place.

“This demonstrates that we’re capable of doing extremely complicated things without knowing explicitly what we are doing,” said Vanderbilt University graduate student Kristy Snyder, the first author of the study, which was conducted under the supervision of Centennial Professor of Psychology Gordon Logan.

A description of the research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, which recently posted it online.

The researchers recruited 100 university students and members from the surrounding community to participate in an experiment. The participants completed a short typing test. Then, they were shown a blank QWERTY keyboard and given 80 seconds to write the letters in the correct location. On average, they typed 72 words per minute, moving their fingers to the correct keys six times per second with 94 percent accuracy. By contrast, they could accurately place an average of only 15 letters on a blank keyboard.

Read more at: MedicalXpress



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