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The Proof is in the Pudding

One of the most important parts of the monument design and creation process is approving the final proof. It sounds really easy I know but it is not. Needless to say that there have been mistakes from time to time in the monument business with a wrong date or name. If you are like me you are probably saying... Not me... I know how to spell and I know my dates. I want you to take a quick look at the paragraph below and see if you can read it...

I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

How does your brain so quickly make sense of what at first glance is nonsense? Researchers aren’t entirely sure, but they have some suspicions.

Yuo cna porbalby raed tihs esaliy desptie teh msispeillgns.

They think part of the reason the sentence above is readable is because our brains are able to use context to make predictions about what's to come.

For example, research has revealed that when we hear a sound that leads us to expect another sound, the brain reacts as if we're already hearing that second sound.

This is similar to the way the brain responds to an arrangement of letters or words. As your brain deciphered each word in the example above, it also predicted which words would logically come next to form a coherent sentence.

"We are continuously anticipating what we will see, hear or feel next," Dr. Lars Muckli, a researcher at the University of Glasgow's Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology told

However, even if you read that garbled example with ease, you probably didn't read every word correctly. You thought you did because you understood the sentence, but in addition to predicting what came next, your brain also filled in any gaps based on the subsequent words.

It is interesting that our brains can do this. So, reading the paragraph was a little fun but I will tell you what is not fun and that is when you have waited on the monument to be produced and the day has finally come that it will be installed. At first glance everything looks fine but on closer inspection you find that something is misspelled. You go back to the monument company claiming that they made a mistake only to find that you signed of on the proof that contained the misspelling. The monument company simply made what was on the proof.

So how can we we keep this from happening. It is actually something i started doing a few years ago. When I am proofing or having a family proof a monument I encourage them to look over it the first time as it reads. The next time i encourage them to go letter by letter backwards. It makes them look at every individual letter and number individually instead of our brain stringing things together that are not there. May or may not work for you but it has for me.

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