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What words ‘jump’ out from a page? …..
A group of us have been discussing messaging and how some words, even when buried in a large body of text, just seem to jump out at even the casual viewer – sometimes with potentially embarrassing consequences; words like love, kisses etc. What other words have this effect and are there any rational reasons why they appear to manifest themselves in this way?
asked in words, visibility

goth-girl1 answers:

well for me it is blood, vampire, sex, and or any other words for the act, freak,

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imfeduptoo answers:

I believe this happens to people who read by skimming - as when you see a whole paragraph at a time, rather than word by word.

Looking at your question, the words that leapt out at me first were 'love'and 'kisses' but also messaging', embarrassing' and 'text'.

So I got the gist of your question by looking at it rather than reading it.

I feel that the reason they 'jump out' is that they are familiar and recognisable at a glance, rather than having to read them.

Different people may see different words that jump out of the text.

I suppose it's a bit like looking at a photograph of a large group of people and you will immediately see the ones you know amongst strangers.

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himnextdoor answers:

I think it's more base than that; words like 'kiss', 'sex', 'money', 'blood', 'death', etc., represent cues for survival.

Who wouldn't be attracted to 'FREE SEX' or 'FREE MONEY'?

Words like 'BLOOD' or 'DEATH' act as warning cues and therefore arouse interest.

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P-Kasso answers:

The words PS at the end of a messaage always grab me and I usually read the PS's first.

This is not just me - if you look at many of the direct mail / junk mail that you get you'll see that a vast number of them use PS's because they know (after years of research and careful trial and error) that an offer in the PS will get read whereas people will just glance at the main body of the text and move on. If ad agencies keep on doing it then it must be working. No?

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JoGxx answers:

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I agree with Imfeduptoo that when you skim text certain words come to mind as they are recognisable - I do think that this also depends on your mood - the same as in a physical sense that if you are feeling lonely all you can see around are couples and families, if you are sad - you hear laughter everywhere etc etc. The same may apply to book text too.

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