Proofreading is one of my mutant talents. “Can spot a typo at 20 paces!” This is the best description I’ve come across of the “something’s wrong there” feeling I have when I’ve noticed a typo.
From Making Light.
The proofreader’s sense that “something is wrong at this location” is a genuinely weird phenomenon. People who have a serious case of it will “feel” a typo go past when they’re riffling through pages too fast to be reading them. They’ll gradually sense the presence of a typo in their peripheral vision — for example, in the small print on a poster located eight feet up on the opposite wall, when they’re concentrating on reading something right in front of them.* When they’re proofreading, sometimes the typos on the next page will “light up” as soon as they turn the page. They’ll still methodically read that page against the setting copy, but there’s a good chance that the typos they saw in that first moment will be the only ones on the page.
If you can get enough of these people together for a conversation, it’s fascinating to hear them discuss the experience. For some, the misspelled text flashes the first time they see it, or is a different color, or floats slightly above the surface of the page, or vibrates. For me, there’s a bump at that spot, about the size of a caraway or fennel seed lying on the desktop underneath the paper. My mind can feel it, though my fingers know it’s not there.
— Teresa Nielsen Hayden