Jon Faust
mostly economics


 Dyslexia (fonts)

Escher, Relativity

Recently, I noticed an announcement for Open-Dyslexic, a font intended to help dyslexics read more easily/accurately. Fonts for dyslexics are less symmetric than normal fonts and are weighted at the bottom. The idea, according to, e.g., Scientific American, is that the characters in these fonts are more likely to stay put, instead of rotating, reflecting, and so forth.

This caught my eye as someone who had a tendency to inadvertently mirror write (so that words looked correct only when held up to a mirror) when I was very young. Things have always had a tendency to flip, float, and spin for me. In fact, I have long associated any analytic creativity I have with the fact that formal concepts are object-like and these objects don't have well-anchored orientations. I am also left handed, and, in an understatement, you don't want me doing your copy editing.

As it turns out, there is a lot of recent reseach on these topics. For example, dyslexia and left-handedness have recently been genetically linked (gene PCSK6); mirror-writing and left-handedness are linked statistically, and research has found that dyslexics may excel at certain holistic visual spatial skills. For example, in one study, recently reported in the NYTimes, dyslexics more rapidly see the impossibility of M. C. Escher-like pictures than do nondyslexics. Various books, articles, and limmericks are sprouting on the special powers of dyslexics:

Tootius McTootius McPhee
Would mix up a ‘b’ for a ‘d’
When blowing a bubble
She often got dubble
And very occasionally three

Let me be clear: State of the Science? Not qualified to tell. But I'm pretty sure someone should tell Oprah©.

As for the fonts, I tried reading with them and, well, they don't do much for me. They sure are unattractive.