October 23, 2010

"So if something is hard to see or hear, it feels disfluent... We'd found that disfluency led people to think harder about things."

That's a generalization from a study in which readers were better at remembering information written in a difficult-to-read font.

19 comments:

Chase said...

Your sentence reads:

That's a generalization from a study in which readers were better at remember information written in a difficult-to-read font.

Was that on purpose, so that we would remember it better?

Coketown said...

That must explain why, in the freshman English classes I taught, students routinely submitted exams with the most abominable handwriting known to man. They wanted me to remember their insights forever.

Oh, and good news. It was pizza for two tonight.

Ann Althouse said...

@Chase LOL. And: corrected.

EDH said...

Might explain why kids with poor eyesight have been stereotyped as more studious?

Also, a kidle-like device could control the rate at which words are presented for reading, obviating the need to make the font more difficult to see in order to derive the benefit.

EDH said...

Kindle-like.

edutcher said...

Maybe the harder you have to work for it, the more it sticks with you. Or, as my father observed after I banged my head against the doorjamb (accidentally) as I gave the answer to 3x6, if you hurt yourself, you never forget.

Disfluent??? Why do I have the feeling this is why Ivy League educations aren't worth as much anymore?

Almost Ali said...

The challenge: Bodoni MT font

"I" don't get it. Brush Script, bold italics, yes - but "Bodoni MT font," no.

Clyde said...

I guess it might kinda work. BBC's site had the author's name in some funky greyscale, and I ain't forgettin' Cordelia Hebblethwaite for as long as I live!

wv: charr. My eyes, they burn!

Clyde said...

And by the way, did they kick all of the British with the weird names off the boat before they came over here, or did they change to the weird names after the Pilgrims left? Just wondering...

David said...

Thus Harry Reid.

Clyde said...

Or were they more likely to be Tories and sent packing off to Canada? A great historical question here.

Lem said...

It could help to make french movie subtitles harder to read?

Interesting.

Palladian said...

This explains why I remember Chaucer better from reading him in Caxton's edition.

Jason (the commenter) said...

EDH: Also, a kidle-like device could control the rate at which words are presented for reading, obviating the need to make the font more difficult to see in order to derive the benefit.

But ebook readers, like the Kindle, will probably never do this. They'll try to be easier to read than books, and hence what you read in them will always be less memorable.

tim maguire said...

This is just common sense, isn't it? If something is easy to read, you read it easily. If something is hard to read, you slow down and concentrate.

Was federal money involved in this study?

campy said...

I participate in an online forum where several posters change from the default font to something cutesy. I scroll on by their messages without reading.

Just as I do here when I see a troll's name.

traditionalguy said...

An old trick was stuttering or fumbling over words to get an audience to listen harder to figure out the speakers thoughts like working a crossword puzzle. But I doubt that works unless a captive audience MUST get the information for some reason. Today we want to get in and get out fast.

Lucien said...

This explains why the District Court requires briefs in 14 point fonts or larger: the judges want to forget what lawyers write as quickly as possible.

EDH said...

But ebook readers, like the Kindle, will probably never do this.

I was thinking schools could distribute pre-set devices to students.

Plus, Evelyn Wood must be turning in her grave.