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Most People Still Can’t Recognize a Lowercase ‘G’

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We’ve seen the lowercase “g” letter in handwriting and on the computer for years now. So why is it that we still have trouble identifying the common typed version of it when we see it? If you’re scratching your head right now, you’re not alone.

According to an April 2018 study, most people don’t even know that two forms of the lowercase “g” exist — one usually handwritten, and the other usually typed out on the computer. (Helpful hint: Our website uses the less common, traditionally handwritten one: g.) Researchers at John Hopkins University found that even folks who did know two forms of lowercase “g” are available were not able to write the more common typed version we usually see. Heck, they weren’t even able to pick it out among phony forms of the letter!

To the study’s participants’ credit, though, it’s actually a lot tougher than it may sound. Try the John Hopkins “g chart” quiz for yourself below and see if you’re able to spot the true lowercase “g” among the imposters.

lowercase g john hopkins university

(Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University)

It makes your head hurt a bit looking at all those different ways of writing a lowercase “g,” doesn’t it? Fortunately, researchers put this headache to an end quickly by sneaking the answer in at the very bottom of the chart, upside down. But if you were able to spot the correct “g” — the top right one — without turning your head to peak, then give yourself a pat on the back.

If you weren’t able to find it on your own, don’t beat yourself up over it. According to researchers, there’s actually a pretty relatable — and interesting — reason why so many people have difficulty with this brain teaser.

“We think that if we look at something enough — especially if we have to pay attention to its shape as we do during reading — then we would know what it looks like, but our results suggest that’s not always the case,” said senior author Michael McCloskey in a release. “What we think may be happening here is that we learn the shapes of most letters in part because we have to write them in school. ‘Looptail g’ is something we’re never taught to write, so we may not learn its shape as well.”

We don’t know about you, but we’ll never look at a lowercase “g” the same way again!

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