It is a common point of reference for a lot of people to be able to tell when a note is wrong. If you are just listening to a piece of music and something is wrong, then you will hear it off, but the further you go into music, the more it is evident and you can more exactly point to is what is wrong and things don’t have to be as glaring to be noticed. This concept then can be expanded into all fields of knowledge when relating to what is heard or read. Hearing wrong information about a subject you are knowledgeable about is in many ways similar to hearing that wrong note.
For example, most everyone would react strongly if in a lecture or paper, someone mentioned that Caesar was gunned down in the forum by a bunch of Italian mobsters armed with pistols, because that is the glaring mistake that just sounds wrong to most people. On the other hand, if when listening to a lecture in which someone said that Athens was a democracy, or that Philip II of Macedon was a tyrant, most people would not bat an eye. In the former case they would know that Athens was the “birthplace of democracy”, or that Philip II was an autocratic ruler who, from a modern perspective, would be a tyrant, but someone who has done extensive study into such situations would start wincing almost as much, if not more than the concept of Caesar getting gunned down. In the former case, yes, Athens was a democracy for some time, but it was also led by a king, by oligarchs and by tyrants depending on when you are talking, and for the latter, Philip was a king, he was a supreme ruler, but tyrant was a specific type of absolute rule, generally with a lower class, ‘popular’ backing.
This situation in particular is somewhat focussed on me, but it is a thought process that is true for any subject that you delve into the depths of. For me, this swathe of knowledge has resulted in some difficulty spending large amounts of time listening to under informed people talking as though they are experts on a subject. This does not mean I dislike it when people put forth a suggestion, admitting it is on less than perfect information, or asking questions to clear up mistakes, but when they act like experts and try and impress people with their ‘knowledge’.