When we need to repeat a letter or digit several times (for example when spelling out a number or an acronym) it is easier to explicitly quantify it instead of spelling it out repeatedly: for example we will spell I-triple-E instead of I-E-E-E, or triple-five instead of five-five-five (in French: SSII spelled as deux-es-deux-i instead of es-es-i-i), we will write W3 instead of WWW, etc. My intuition tells me that when we repeat the same letter/digit multiple times the listener will need to count them, and may get confused, while if we warn him/her that there will be a repetition and give the final count of items, he/she avoids counting operation and therefore also the risk of miscounting.

My question is: how is this operation called, and do you know if anyone has studied it (in a psychological or cognitive frame)?

  • $\begingroup$ First time I heard such was the TV program That Was the Week That Was, or "TW3". My idea is that it is just easier to say (say "WWW" ten times) and avoids repetition which is boring. $\endgroup$ – user3169 Feb 13 '16 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting example, since formally it should rather be (TW)3. My question is whether this has been studied from a psycho-cognitive point of view. $\endgroup$ – yannis Feb 13 '16 at 10:26

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