Is there a psychological component to being incapable of spotting typos before hitting the post button on a message board, then being able to spot one instantly as soon as you look at the posted message? Seriously. Have any studies been done?
Here’s a hypothesis. Perhaps when looking at something you just wrote you still carry the text in your mind (perhaps in your short-term memory) and it automatically corrects any errors you may have made. I believe this is why some college writing instructors advise you to walk away from your essay when you finish and return to proofread it later, thus letting it fall out of your short-term memory so the text seems new and you pay more attention to it.
For me, even though I do make typos by being too lazy to proofread, misspelt words "look’ wrong. It’s like looking at a picture which is somehow distorted, so although I don’t read the word as such, I see that it’s wrong.
Curiously, this happens when reading books too. So often, I can reach the end of a book and singularly fail to recall the name of any of the characters. I can remember the ‘shape’ of the name, often the first letter, and the approximate length. This can be a little irritating. The endings in whodunnit’s or the like usually elude me, and I have to flick back to compare the names at the end with the introductions near the beginning.
This post will contain x typos.
here’s an interesting link with a typo that’s extremely difficult to figure out… i guess it has to do with how the brain of a well-read person assimilates a sentence as a whole and not as individual words…but that’s only my guess…
p.s. ani typos in this past are uninternational.
I think Osiris hit the nail on the head. We often read what we expect to read rather than the actual words. One way we used to proofread client copy, particularly looking for typos, was to read the text backwords. That way you don’t get into flow of the words and start “seeing” things in your mind. This is probably more effort than most people want to go through for a post though. Another good way to proofread (if you do this with a post, you really are obsessing) is to have one person read it aloud while another follows along.
I also agree with Osiris. I find I often don’t spot misspellings unless I see it in a different context. By that I mean, if I look at the field I just typed my response in, I may not notice an error. But if I click “Preview Reply” I often see them. It’s just a different way of looking at it, or seeing it after a time.
Not to hijack this thread, but I touch-type, and often I “feel” that I’ve misspelled a word. I’ve always had difficulty spelling aloud, spelling-bee syle. But if I wiggle my fingers as if they were touching the keyboard, it’s much easier. Same with singing. I can sing easier if I mimic the keys I would play on the piano. Must be a sense memory thing.