A Proofreading Tip--from Psychology

I ran across this interesting video from Bite Size Psych.  It's about a 3-question test given to college students--many of whom miss at least one of the questions.  The test reveals cognitive bias, that quick conclusion-making that can sometimes lead us astray.  And it's exactly the type of thing that makes it difficult to spot typos in our own work.

Studies seem to show that students do better on tests when...get this...the font is hard to read.  It slows down the brain's processing, giving you time to really think instead of simply jumping to the easiest conclusion.

So, the brilliant proofreading tip:  when you're ready to do that final proof, change the font on your document to something unusual and hard to read.  You'll find more errors.

Just don't forget to change it back.

Check out the full video here:  The Simple Riddle that More than 50% of Harvard Students Got Wrong

Melinda Brasher currently teaches English as a second language in the beautiful Czech Republic.  She loves the sound of glaciers calving and the smell of old books.  Her travel articles and short fiction appear in Go NomadInternational LivingElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others.  For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home.  For something a little more medieval, read her YA fantasy novel, Far-KnowingVisit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com.


Heidiwriter said...

This is fascinating. I'll have to try it next time!

Karen Cioffi said...

Wow! This is a great tip, Melinda. I'll be sure to try it also. Thanks for sharing.

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