A blog post from Jonah Lehrer provides some “rampant, reckless neuroscientific theorizing” in support of this approach. The lab of Stanislas Dehaene has distinguished between two reading pathways in the brain. Reading "routinized, familiar passages" activates an area of the brain known as the visual word form area -- Lehrer compares this to reading “on auto-pilot.”
But Dehaene and colleagues found that, when their experimental subjects read text that had been variously mutated and degraded, this activated another area of the brain, often described as part of the dorsal route, which has been linked to letter-by-letter processing in children who are learning to read. Reading using this other part of the brain, Lehrer conjectures, might force you to think more about what's on the page, with the result that you do a better editing job.
I'm currently in edit mode myself on a big project. Genuinely to reengage with my text, should I go for as outlandish a font as possible?
Lehrer's post attracted interesting comments about how a similar principle could apply in painting and programming, and also includes this funny quote from Zadie Smith -- “It's an unfortunate thing, but it turns out that the perfect state of mind to edit your novel is two years after it's published, ten minutes before you go on stage at a literary festival.”
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