I noticed something today while going through my Spam folder in Yahoo Mail.
So every once and a while I will go into the spam folder to see if there is anything that got in there by mistake.
Today there was 228 mails in my spam box, and I display 50 at a time. When I look through it, I might spend a total 1-2 seconds at most on a page. So I really just look up then down real quick, then go to the next page. Not really reading or looking at specific mails. But somehow, I still am able to spot the one email that wasn't spam. In today's case it was the JavaRanch Giveaway email.
I think it is kind of amazing that we can spot this out without even really looking. I guess there is a point where you have seen so much spam in your internet lifetime, that you can spot it out a mile away.
I guess the mind of a human being is good at recognizing patterns.. and hence "Javaranch" was a collection which was a registered pattern in your brain which led to it being noticed.
when you were scannin through the list the brain was matching the patterns against what it has registered as what may not be spam for you... but if you were not just scanning through the spam, instead were trying to search for a specific mail not related to javaranch, there was a higher probability of you missing the javaranch mail...
The give away mails always (almost) seem to end up there. But since java ranch is one of your priority mails you easily recognized it. Spam is usually so full of nonsense that you can smell and see it a mile away.