Actually, there is plenty of validity to it, but it is not entirely for the reasons listed. It has to do with the human brain's puzzle-solving ability. This is one of the ways in which intelligence in animals is tested. Animals that respond to multi-word commands (ie, "lay down" for a dog) can be easily confused if you rearrange the words, (ie, "down lay".) It was discovered with Dolphins, however, that even when you rearranged commands which they did understand, they were able to decrypt the puzzle and perform the exact command. (I saw this on Discovery channel a few months back.) It's kind of the same thing with these mixed up words - because the first and last letters are where they should be, the decryption of the middle letters is far easier. If you rearrange the letters in an entirely different fashion, it becomes way more difficult. So, it is partially because the first and last letters are the most important ones, but it has more to do with the human brain's ability to think on more complex levels. Now whether this was an actual study or just someone coming up with their own version of a known psychological trick, who knows....
- Ken LePage