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C Style: Standards and Guidelines (contents)

CHAPTER 2 : Psychological Factors

PART 1 : BASICS

CHAPTER 2 : Psychological Factors

2.1 Pattern Recognition
2.2 Filtering
2.3 Habit
2.4 Redundancy
2.5 Cues and Context
2.6 Recognizing Basic features
2.7 Short Term, Working and Long Term memory
2.8 Chunking
2.9 The Rule of Seven
2.10 Context Switching
2.11 Modifying the image
2.12 Memorizing sounds
2.13 Eye focus
2.14 Eye movement
2.15 Looking ahead
2.16 Looking back
2.17 The subconscious is always right
2.18 Natural ambition
2.19 Summary

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2.6 Recognizing Basic features

Complex pattern recognition is achieved by first recognizing simple features, such as lines and curves, then understanding the shapes which they form together. Thus a 'T' is recognized as being a combination of one vertical and one horizontal line. These basic features are very easy to spot, even in the middle of a more complex picture, as there are memory elements dedicated to finding the basic vertical and horizontal components. Thus fill justified text, where the left and right edges of the text are vertically aligned, looks 'good', as the brain finds familiar patterns in its overall shape.

In programs, vertical alignment is used to make lines at the same level of nesting stand out. Columns can also be used make tables clearer:

 

int LineFactors[3][5] = { { 19, 2, 22, 32, 5 },

                          { 99, 33, 55, 45, 4 },

                          { 32, 6, 14, 21, 15 }

                        };

 

Vertical alignment can even be recognized across several lines, allowing non-connected lines to be associated:

 

This is line 1

    This is line 2

  This is line 3

This is line 4, which is vertically aligned with line 1

    This is line 5, which is vertically aligned with line 2

 

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