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The fingers don't lie

Typing experiments show brain has at least two copy editors

2:03pm, October 28, 2010

The brain uses two different checks to guard against sloppy copy, a new study finds. By using a doctored word processor to sneak errors into typed words and surreptitiously fix typists’ real errors, researchers teased apart the various ways people catch their own mistakes. The study, published in the Oct. 29 Science, highlights the complexity of performance monitoring.

Psychologist Gordon Logan and his colleague Matthew Crump of Vanderbilt University in Nashville recruited skilled typists — people who typed more than 40 words a minute using all of their fingers. These subjects were able to type a paragraph about the merits of border collies with over 90 percent accuracy.

As the typists pecked away, researchers introduced common typing errors into about 6 percent of the words that appeared on a screen (changing sweat to swaet, swerat or swet, for instance). The program also corrected about 45 percent of the t

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