proof-reader's illusion

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1 The failure of a proof-reader to notice gross errors in the meaning of the text being checked, because different and incompatible levels of processing are required for checking meaning and orthography.

2 The tendency of a proof-reader to overlook small errors of orthography because of the difficulty of suppressing higher levels of processing while checking orthography, especially when one is the author of the text. Some professional proof-readers read text backwards to avoid this problem.

Subjects: Psychology.

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