The thing about writing is that it’s mianly about maening.
That is why it can be difficult to identify your errors and typos, especially the ones you just typed.
Tom Stafford, a psychologist from the University of Sheffield, expressed his thoughts on this matter to Wired magazine:
“When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high-level task,” He exclaimed.
Whenever faced with a complex task, your brain is able to quickly process basic components, such as letters into words and words into sentences, allowing it to concentrate on more challenging tasks like merging sentences together for sophisticated ideas. “We don’t catch every detail, we’re not like computers or NSA databases,” exclaimed Stafford. “Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.”
In practical terms, this is how it looks: When we read our own work, it can be difficult to really notice the individual words and phrases that we’ve chosen to communicate our message. Instead, all that is on our minds is this meaning or idea that we are attempting to convey.
This process, known as generalization among psychologists, is a mental shortcut your brain utilizes when storing information. Have you ever gone on autopilot while driving and ended up at your workplace instead of visiting a friend? If so, then you know the feeling all too well: Rather than thinking about your destination, you fly away on autopilot. Editing can likewise be done effortlessly and without much effort, as you sail to the expected outcome.
For the aspiring writer, this fast and simple generalization system is not only daunting but can also be deceivingly tricky. It’s easy to let your guard down and neglect vigilance when something seems so effortless. Although it can be tempting to just highlight pages of information, this method doesn’t actually help you remember the material better. On the contrary, utilizing hard-to-read fonts is more efficient for improving recall when studying.
To make the most of editing, strive to distance yourself from your words as much as possible. According to Stafford, one of the best ways to grab and hold your attention is by switching it up. Switching fonts or background colors can help keep you interested, as well as printing out a document and physically rewriting it with pen and paper. Doing this sends a signal to your brain telling it that something important is happening!
Without vigilance, you may be sailing right into mistakes, Stafford proclaims “Once you’ve learned something in a particular way, it’s hard to see the details without changing the visual form.”
Business Insider first released this insightful article.
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