Neuroscience Behind Typos

Science Behind Typos

You have finally finished writing your article. You’ve stressed over your word choice and worried about the best way to arrange them to effectively convey your point. You comb for errors, and by the time you publish you are absolutely certain that not a single typo survived your eagle-eyed glare. But, the first thing your readers notice isn’t your carefully crafted message, it’s that misspelled word in the fourth sentence.

Typos are the worst. They are saboteurs, undermining your intent, causing your resume to land in the “pass” pile, or providing sustenance for an army of pedantic critics. Frustratingly, they are usually words you know how to spell, but somehow skimmed over in your rounds of editing. If we are our own harshest critics, why do we miss those annoying little details?

The reason typos seep through isn’t because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we’re doing is actually very smart, explains psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos of the University of Sheffield in the U.K. “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task,” he said.

As with all high-level tasks, your brain simplifies basic, component parts (like turning letters into words and words into sentences) so it can focus on more complex tasks (like combining sentences into complex ideas).

“We don’t catch every detail, we’re not like computers or NSA databases,” said Stafford. “Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.” When we’re reading other peoples’ work, this helps us arrive at meaning faster by using less brainpower. When we’re proof reading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent. The reason we don’t see our own typos is because what we see on the screen is competing with the version that exists in our heads.

This can be something as trivial as transposing the letters in “the” to “hte,” or something as significant as omitting the core explanation of your article.

Generalization is the hallmark of all higher-level brain functions. It’s similar to how our brains build maps of familiar places, compiling the sights, smells, and feel of a route. That mental map frees your brain up to think about other things. Sometimes this works against you, like when you accidentally drive to work on your way to a barbecue, because the route to your friend’s house includes a section of your daily commute. We can become blind to details because our brain is operating on instinct. By the time you proofread your own work, your brain already knows the destination.

This explains why your readers are more likely to pick up on your errors. Even if you are using words and concepts that they are also familiar with, their brains are on this journey for the first time, so they are paying more attention to the details along the way and not anticipating the final destination.

But even if familiarization handicaps your ability to pick out mistakes in the long run, we’re actually pretty awesome at catching ourselves in the act. (According to Microsoft, backspace is the third-most used button on the keyboard.) In fact, touch typists—people who can type without looking at their fingers—know they’ve made a mistake even before it shows up on the screen. Their brain is so used to turning thoughts into letters that it alerts them when they make even minor mistakes, like hitting the wrong key or transposing two characters. In a study published earlier this year, Stafford and a colleague covered both the screen and keyboard of typists and monitored their word rate. These “blind” typists slowed down their word rate just before they made a mistake.

Touch typists are working off a subconscious map of the keyboard. As they type, their brains are instinctually preparing for their next move. “But, there’s a lag between the signal to hit the key and the actual hitting of the key,” Stafford said. In that split second, your brain has time to run the signal it sent your finger through a simulation telling it what the correct response will feel like. When it senses an error, it sends a signal to the fingers, slowing them down so they have more time to adjust.

As any typist knows, hitting keys happens too fast to divert a finger when it’s in the process of making a mistake. But, Stafford says this evolved from the same mental mechanism that helped our ancestors’ brains make micro adjustments when they were throwing spears.

Unfortunately, that kind of instinctual feedback doesn’t exist in the editing process. When you’re proof reading, you are trying to trick your brain into pretending that it’s reading the thing for the first time. Stafford suggests that if you want to catch your own errors, you should try to make your work as unfamiliar as possible. Change the font or background color, or print it out and edit by hand. “Once you’ve learned something in a particular way, it’s hard to see the details without changing the visual form,” he said.

When I Grow Up

Remember people asking you what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be like Mario Andretti and race cars. I also wanted to play Hockey like Rod Gilbert (yes, I’m still a Ranger fan). Like many of you, things don’t always turn out as imagined. For some of us, we still dream about the future — what will be, what won’t.

About half way through college at Saint Peters College, I decided to apply to New York Chiropractic College, one of 20 or so in the U.S. Did I make the right call? Of course I did!

Dr. Taras Odulak, c.1992

Our practice was established in 1991 on East 7th Street, just down the block from where I grew up. I knew the neighborhood inside and out, and I took the right educational path. With the right help to get me started, our practice grew to what it is today. Our patients are happy and healthy, I have an incredible staff and I’m happy, too!

Even today, the future for Chiropractic Care is bright and full of promise. We don’t prescribe drugs and we’ve always been non-invasive. We help our patients feel better and stand stronger. We have a nutritional program, do Custom Orthotics and therapeutic massage — and now we’re working on offering Functional Medicine (treatments focusing on optimal functioning of the body and its organs, using systems of holistic medicine). You don’t have to be sick to benefit from functional medicine.


I love what I do; no regrets. Met my wife while playing Hockey in Montreal — and I still play occasionally. Never raced an F1 car, but I am working on restoring an old Chevrolet Corvair Monza coupe. So I spend my days aligning spines and my scarce free time restoring a car from the ground up!

It’s great being a Chiropractor and exciting to see people benefit from my expertise. I’m very happy we have so many wonderful patients. If you’re one of them, thank you!

If you’re considering becoming one, call (212) 260-2213 to schedule an appointment.

Orthotics: The Perfect Fit


Orthotics help treat pain in your joints, lower back, or legs. We’ve worked out problems large and small by evaluating patients and then making custom Orthotics using The Orthotic Group’s GaitScan™ technology.

Generelly, Orthotics can be divided into two groups: accommodative, built to better support your feet for stress reduction on your joints, and functional, designed to adapt how your foot functions when standing, walking or running. Either can have a positively therapeutic effect on your skeletal system.

What can you expect when being fitted for Orthotics? It depends on your situation, but you can be sure of three things:

  1. A review of your personal medical history and lifestyle, taking into account past injuries and difficulties, and what sort of activities you participate in, and also the different types of footwear in your collection.
  2. Examination: a hands-on exam of your feet and lower limbs, analyzing foot structure, range of motion, and identifying any possible anomalies. We’ll take a look at your gait by observing how
    you walk or run, too.
  3. GaitScan™ analysis: while some may make a plaster mold of your feet, we prefer using GaitScan Technology, which takes into account your feet in action. This provides us with a more accurate, customized orthotic with the best fit and function. Dynamic Scanning: as you walk across the GaitScan plate, 4,096 sensors are set to scan the plantar surface of your foot in motion, recording timing sequences during your gait and captures the relative pressure for each of ten distinct anatomical landmarks. Pressure Mapping: we’re able to view your plantar pressure distribution in both two and three dimensions. Detailed images help identify high-pressure areas and existing biomechanical inefficiencies.


A Custom Orthotic is a device designed to align the foot and ankle into the most anatomically efficient position. They look like insoles, but are biomechanical, medical appliances that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalance. Custom Orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes — they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. The plastic body of the custom Orthotic helps to re-align the foot by redirecting and reducing certain motion that takes place during the gait cycle. Custom Orthotics fit into your shoes as comfortably as an insole, and they have the advantage of having been made from precise imprints of your feet.


After your Orthoctics are made, we’ll give you a couple of weeks to get used to them and then we’ll make a note of the positive results. We think you’ll agree they’ll make a difference in how you walk and how much better you’ll feel.

Diana, one of our patients, told her story via this video. “Oh my God, it was like night and day!” she says after getting her own Orthotics.



Give us a call at (212) 260-2213 or stop by our office at 33 East 7th Street in New York’s East Village. We’ll go over the specifics together. We’re here to help you find the perfect fit for your health and wellness.

The Better Fish

All of us here are very aware of what we eat. We eat fresh fruits and vegetable whenever we can, stay away from GMO products and avoid eating too many processed foods.

We like fish, too. Our local fishmongers get questioned regularly. Are these fresh? Wild or farmed? If they’re farmed, where do they come from? If they’re from China, we usually decline (think pollution). We heard about details surrounding “organic aquaculture” recently on NPR. That’s a debate that will go on for years.


More and more people are including fish in their diets, so it’s important to know where the fish are coming from. And those cold water oily fish with higher concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids in their fish oil, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, comprise the best source for Omega-3 dietary supplements. The World Health Organization went so far as to recommend Omega-3 for pregnant women.

Since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced “qualified health claims for Omega-3 fatty acids” in 2004, it merely confirmed what many nutritionists and healthcare providers have advocated for years: It’s good for you. The Canadian Government, meanwhile, confirms “DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, supports the normal development of the brain, eyes and nerves.”

Considering the benefits of fish oil and its contribution to patients’ wellness, we are confident we made the right choice in offering products from Nordic Naturals, a company with years of experience in research and quality production of fish oil. They make sure their raw materials are as pure as can be, from sustainable sources.

Nordic Naturals starts with the best raw material available. Our meticulous quality control procedures begin in the ocean with our careful choice of fish species that are naturally low in toxins and high in Omega–3 fats. Wild–caught from some of the cleanest waters in the world, all of our products are made exclusively from four types of fish, all sustainably sourced, and none of which is endangered: Arctic cod (Skrei) from Norwegian waters; anchovies and sardines from the Southern Pacific Ocean; and salmon (Pink and Sockeye) from Alaska’s Cook Inlet.


We especially like their video summary, which tells their story sincerely and honestly.


They believe in themselves, as we believe we provide knowledgeable, experienced and conscientious chiropractic care — the best in New York’s East Village. We’d love to tell you more about how we can help you — and about Nordic Naturals — and what’s best for you. Call us at (212) 260-2213, or stop by our office at 33 East 7th Street. Our fish stories are all true.

I’d Walk a Mile for a Good Chiropractor


If you walk often, at a brisk pace, you’re doing yourself a favor.

Vigorous walking is good for your health. Here in New York, people do a lot of walking. If you live and work in Manhattan, you probably walk a couple of miles per day.

Yet these “couple of miles” people walk to/from work won’t end up on the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Commuting Report” (opens in PDF). The national average of people walking to work is 2.9% But that’s “only” walking. For anyone who’s ever taken public transportation, you’d probably agreed there’s a substantial amount of walking involved, plus climbing stairs. And in the New York Metro region, 30.5% of commuters use public/mass transit.


Based on our observations, a higher proportion of those living in Manhattan will walk more often than other places around here. If you’re one who walks with a purpose at a fast pace, you’re probably in good shape. You could also experience some of the injuries suffered by runners.

Around the time of the New York Marathon, we came across a well-written piece in U.S. News & World Report by Elena Sonnino entitled “Sports Chiropractic Treatment for Running Injuries.” The author, who is also a runner, interviewed sports Chiropractor Dr. Hirad Bagy, who works with Washington’s NFL team, who put it this way…

Bagy emphasizes that not only do all the joints in the body need to move correctly, but they also need to move in coordination with the soft tissue – a healthy body is one where all the factors are working well together. Runners who decide to visit a Sports Chiropractor should expect, according to Bagy, a thorough evaluation of bio-mechanics by their practitioner, including:


  • How they are moving.
  • How they are standing.
  • What the arch of the foot looks like.
  • How the knees are aligned.
  • How the hips are aligned.

Very similar to what you can expect from a visit to East Village Chiropractic. We’ve helped hundreds of people involved in sports, from professionals to amateurs to casual participants. Almost all of them walk to work, too!

In fact, we’re very proud of the feedback we’ve gotten from our patients. Take these two found on

“Never believed in Chiropractic Care — until my back wouldn’t support my walk to work with a heavy backpack every day. Dr. Odulak did a scan of my spine (interesting, not at all scary) and talked about which stretches would help. Those first adjustments are sure to be weird but I INSTANTLY felt better and he talked me through. Since then he’s helped me through sinus infections, ACL tears, and everything in between. The staff is friendly, appointments convenient, and help with insurance always available — I couldn’t recommend more highly. (No, really. I’ve been with them for 8 years).”

“I began going to Dr. Odulak when I was suffering from a rib head popping out 2 years ago. The pain was awful! They got me on a schedule of adjustments and therapies that not only eliminated the pain, but I have not suffered with it since! I continue to go for maintenance adjustments because as a marathon runner, and soon to be half Ironman participant, I am abusing my body everyday. They keep me injury free! The staff is helpful and flexible. I recommend this great Chiropractor to anyone!”

Stop by the office or call (212) 260-2213 with your questions regarding running — or walking — injuries and how we can help. We’re located 33 East 7th Street in New York, just a short walk from subway stations and bus stops. McSorley’s is closer: approximately 230 feet (70 meters).


Food Drive

Mmm, peanut butter! Always a good item for food drives.

Mmm, peanut butter! Always a good item for food drives.

Dear Patients,

With the Thanksgiving Day holiday approaching, we wanted to let you know we are once again partnering with City Harvest — New York’s largest food drive — to collect food for the needy. This will be our 20th year and we have you, our patients, to thank for making it a real success.

Please drop off your non-perishable food at our office by November 26th. Don’t have the time or strength to make a special trip? If you buy your contribution at Met Foodmarkets (Second Ave., bet. 6th and 7th St.), they’ll deliver it directly to our office, courtesy of Mike.


Get your friends and family to help: have them bring 10 items and we’ll give them a gift certificate for a complimentary musculoskeletal exam (including x-rays, if needed) followed by a report of finding. Gift certificate are available in our office.

All who help us will have their name thrown into a hat and become eligible to win either a Tempur-Pedic® pillow or a $50 shopping spree at Whole Foods. The winner will be selected on December 1st.

Thank you for being generous!

Yours in health,
Dr. O.

Diversity in Healthcare

California is an interesting state. Came across a story in The Record (Stockton, California) about a Chiropractor who’s also a distiller of fine vodka and a solar panel installer. Talk about diversifying your practice!

Photo by CALIXTRO ROMIAS/The Record

Photo by CALIXTRO ROMIAS/The Record

In his office in Angels Camp, located in a region of California known as the Mother Lode, he shares the vodka with his patients to help them relax. For safety’s sake, he probably doesn’t give his solar electric system workers any. Logically, the distillery itself is powered by solar energy.

Here at East Village Chiropractic, we’ve been focused on quality Chiropractic Care for more than 20 years. More recently, we’ve been advocating an emphasis on First Line Therapy. We focus on optimal functioning of the body and its organs, which involves a holistic and alternative approach to medicine. Our favorite products from come from Metagenics®, a leader in the field of Nutrigenomics:

A branch of nutritional genomics and is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression. This means that Nutrigenomics is research focusing on identifying and understanding molecular-level interaction between nutrients and other dietary bioactives with the genome. Nutrigenomics has also been described by the influence of genetic variation on nutrition, by correlating gene expression or SNPs with a nutrient’s absorption, metabolism, elimination or biological effects. By doing so, Nutrigenomics aims to develop rational means to optimize nutrition with respect to the subject’s genotype.

At East Village Chiropractic, we have our own ideas on diversity. We make custom Orthotics using The Orthotic Group GaitScan technology, and we offer a wide variety of nutritional supplements by Nutri-West and and the most wonderful fish oil product on the market by Nordic Naturals®. We also offer special ice packs, Tempur-pedic® and water pillows, et al. Think of us as a “one stop shop” for your neck and back.


Stop by our office at 33 East 7th Street or call (212) 260-2213 to learn more about excellent Chiropractic Care, from the outside in and from the inside out. A Chiropractic Adjustment, Orthotics to keep you in line, along with high-quality nutritional supplements — with the support and guidance of a wholesome diet — we will get you living a happier and healthier lifestyle in the greatest city in the world!

I am Iron Man

Copyright © Marvel Comics

Some of the kids I’ve talked to lately think Whiplash is a Marvel Comics character. Nemesis of Iron Man (played by Mickey Rourke in the film from 2010, Iron Man 2).

In my book, Whiplash is a serious injury and something that can linger for years. Cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) is the medical term, and treatment begins with a thorough professional examination.

Symptoms can include headaches, a needles-and-pins sensation in the extremities and the more typical neck and back pain. Whiplash constitutes an injury to the spine, through which the spinal cord runs to connect the brain with peripheral components of our nervous system. Because of this, symptoms can be widespread and may appear long after the initial injury.

Although commonly associated with automobile accidents, Whiplash can be caused by many activities, including bungee-jumping, playing football, hockey or rugby, and falling for any reason.

Chiropractic Care is a logical first step if you’ve suffered a Whiplash injury, no matter how minor it seems at first. We can help identify any problems, including but not limited to restricted joint motion, intervertebral disc injury, and ligament or muscle injury. You can then expect a variety of treatments such as hands-on manipulations to restore normal range of motion in the spine and joints.

In more than 20 years on East 7th Street, we’ve seen and treated hundreds Whiplash patients. We can use this deep well of experience to help evaluate and treat your condition — or simply quench your thirst for knowledge on the topic.

I may not be Iron Man, but I know what to do about your Whiplash.

FAB! Festival Fun

Photo by Whitney Browne.

We had a great time at the FAB! Festival last Saturday. The above photo is one of many by Whitney Browne, published via Flickr.

Lots of Massages and many samples from our Healthy Transformation program were given away. We’re always happy to help our friends and neighbors in the East Village.

Massage at FAB! Festival

Massage at FAB! Festival, September 28th, 2013

Blue Eyes

Our blue-eyed little lady had a great time!

NYC Chiropractic Care Patient Testimonials

We always welcome our Chiropractic patients’ feedback — either in-person or via social/business media.

Read what our patients are saying about us…