When we make a mistake, our brain sends a specific signal. This brain wave fires so quickly that we can sometimes stop ourselves before we actually do or say something stupid.
Researchers Schiller and Ganuschak found that the signal appears to be the same whether we press the wrong button or use the wrong word. Officially, the wave is known as Error-Related Negativity. More colloquially, it’s called the ‘Oh-shit’ wave.
If you’re trying to improve your grammar, make friends with the ‘Oh-shit’ wave. First, focus your attention on one specific error. When you revise your writing, look for that error and correct it. Each time you make a correction, you’re giving yourself a model of how to avoid this mistake. You’ll find other models as you read or listen to people who are masters of language. The more good models you have, the more quickly the ‘Oh-shit’ wave will alert you to errors.
One caution: your attention to this signal should be selective. When you’re proofing or revising, it provides valuable feedback. If this signal fires when you’re drafting, just tell yourself that you can fix mistakes later and keep writing.
Also, remember that the ‘Oh-shit’ wave is basic equipment for our brains. Mistakes are so much a part of being human that we have a built-in way to recover from them.
So don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes. Instead, train your brain’s error detector to notice and correct them.
Read the full article at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081104084219.htm