Monday, July 12, 2010

Cognitive Impairment

I've noticed in the past year that when I'm writing on the computer I sometimes make very odd word substitutions. I'm guessing it's age related. I decided to keep a list of the words, because I know enough about how the brain organizes language to know that different kinds of substitutions -- say words that sound alike vs. words that have a similar meaning vs. words that use the same letters just in a different order vs. words that have a similar structure vs. words that are part of the same category of objects (for example, trees) -- are the result of glitches in different areas of the brain.
Anyhow, here's my list. See if if you can make anything of it. I can't.

or FOR are
kind FOR got
bit it FOR be it
buy FOR pay
do FOR to
suggestively FOR successfully
again FOR aging (heh!)
pines FOR palms
think FOR thing
important FOR appropriate


Jo Ann said...

I notice word substitutions in other people's email messages, and I notice such mistakes in my own messages when I fail to reread and edit before hitting the send button. I don't know enough about the way the brain works to make inferences about the word substitutions you listed, but I think I've noticed that the shorter the message, the more word substitutions I notice in other people's messages. I wonder whether speed and the level of importance associated with a message has an impact on the frequency of word substitutions?

By the way, if you are ever looking for a companion for a return trip to Taos, let me know. I enjoyed my two trips there, and would love to go again.

Pam J. said...

They all sort of make sense to me, except for "kind FOR got." That one I can't quite figure out. My favorite is "buy FOR pay"-- it made me chuckle. And why are you writing the word "palms" so often? For work? Maybe when talking about sign language? Or possibly you write a lot about the palms on Palm Sunday?

Robin said...

I was writing about palms instead of pines because i was staying at a small hotel in florida at st. pete beach and i kept substituting pines for palms -- which was absurd since there were no pines in st. pete.