Why Kids Write Their Letters Backwards

Why Kids Write Their Letters Backwards

– We, and by we I mean modern humans, have been here on Earth
for about 200,000 years. But only about 5,000 years ago, we discovered that we could
convey what we were thinking using visual symbols. And this actually has
been an incredible source for human cultural explosion. Suddenly, the thoughts
we had could be written in a stone, later in
a paper, but somewhere where it could be kept for
generations and generations. This has been a major
transformation of human culture. Now, this poses a very
interesting puzzle for the biology of reading because 5,000
years are not long enough, to evolve or to change our brains for the capacity of reading. When we understand that, we also understand that
there ought to be many ways on how the biological machinery for reading, are actually set
from other domains of vision. One of them, a very
fundamental one, is that vision is essentially invariant rotations. So this is my hand, but this is also my hand, and this is also my hand, and this is also my hand. And this is true, essentially for all the
objects we deal with. Now there is an exception for that, which is letters. If you get a “p” and you
rotate it it’s a “q,” and if you rotate it like this it’s a “b” and then a “d.” Actually letters are
not rotation invariant. We’ve chosen visual symbols, it’s just been the choice of our cultures that actually they do
not have this property that the visual system
outside of reading has. So this explains something
that actually seems very strange, very
weird, but actually it’s very natural, very simple,
and quite extraordinary. Only parents know that when
children start to write, they begin doing so writing
words, so to say, normally in the same sense and
orientation that we write them. But also spontaneously,
when they begin to write, they will write the mirror
image of the same words. Now again, this often is
something that remains unnoticed, sometimes some parents will
say, oh that’s kind of weird, or that’s kind of strange, but at the same time we have to think that it’s extraordinary, because it’s something we cannot do. If an adult would like
to do as children do, just to write the mirror
image of the words, we would see that it’s
extremely difficult, we cannot do it, it takes a lot of effort. So how come children so young, they are doing something which we adults cannot even think of doing? And the reason is that
they’re using, for letters, the visual system as we
use the visual system for all other things. Understanding that an image
and the mirror rotation or reflection of that image corresponds to the same thing. This is how vision always works. So one important thing
of learning to write, is unlearning this property, that the reflection of an object corresponds to the same object. This is a very specific
property of writing and children, through
the process of learning, need to unlearn this thing
that has been a regularity of the entire evolution of human vision.

100 thoughts on “Why Kids Write Their Letters Backwards

  1. Read This (EASY)

    Strwbrry Mlkshk

    Read This (AVERAGE)

    C4n you r34d th15 3451ly

    Read This (HARD)


  2. When I was little I used to write backwards on a bus window when it's been condensed on so that people can see from the outside

  3. I usted to write backwards in kindergarden because I forgot if I was supposed to write from left to right or from right to left

  4. I was one of the first to exclusively right correctly, but I start all the letters at the bottom.

  5. 2:10 what? I'm 30 and still do that. I also write words from above their orientation so they look like someone wrote it normally. Which means I'm writing it flipped vertically and horizontally, but when viewed at facefront, it's a normal orientation.

  6. If you write backwards on a window from the inside, you're displaying a message for the outside.

  7. I'm an adult, and I can perfectly write backward from right to Left and laterally inverted. Am I the only one?

  8. I don't write backwards, I have autism (that's not the autism you think) and I still don't write backwards.

  9. For me, it's not hard to write letters backwards. I mean just try it. Maybe it's because I'm still young and not actually an adult, but I'm not a little kid either so I'm sort of confused. Try it, tell me if it was difficult for you!

  10. I remember when I was 6 years old and always confused b, p, d and q. It was a nightmare because my teachers always confronted me like: "How can you not get this?! They are obviously different letters." But I also had huge problems with left and right because my both hands where equally god at doing everything. This changed because I started to write only with my right hand.

  11. I'm very sure I'm more capable of writing and reading backwards than a little child that barely reads.

  12. …Small problem…I write cursive exclusively because the primary school I went to drilled it into me and I forgot how to write normally…

    You can't reverse cursive writing…

  13. Once I wrote my homework (a short interpretation text) in mirrored Latin alphabets. My teacher wasn't really convinced that I did my homework so he told me to read my homework, and I did! he wasn't mad at all tho

  14. An adult can somewhat experience the mirroring effect by writing with the non-dominant hand and not carefully think of how to write each letter.

  15. Wait, kids genuinely write the letters backwards? This never happened to myself, my siblings nor anyone else at nursery.

  16. A lot of people don't know, but Leonardo Da Vinci wrote backwards, he was probably Dyslexic.
    So, yea, some grown up do write backwards, at least at his times

  17. I only ever wrote a letter backwards if I forgot which way round it went, though I picked up the pace not long after.

  18. I only ever wrote a letter backwards if I forgot which way round it went, though I picked up the pace not long after.

  19. I can write backwards almost as efficiently as I can write forwards. It’s very handy for writing on windows.

  20. this is an interesting idea. but not all people see that way in the mind. I see letters backward, and so do others.

  21. I used to write my e’s backwards for a long time even after my teachers taught me that it was wrong

  22. My brother right letters/Sentences backwards. I'm so confuse! I asked some people about that. They say, "if he/she doing that, he/she is genius". Some people also said that Einstein can write words/Scientist backwards. So My grandma also asked at the psychologist about that if it's has a scientific explanation and now, we were waiting for the results.


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