Scientists Develop a New Font That Can Improve Your Memory
The written word has a fascinating history. Historians believe that writing may have been invented three times in three different parts of the world. Denise Schmandt-Besserat of the University of Texas at Austin explains more in her paper, The Evolution of Writing. “Of these three writing systems, therefore, only the earliest, the Mesopotamian cuneiform script, invented in Sumer, present-day Iraq, c. 3200 BC, can be traced without any discontinuity over a period of 10,000 years, from a prehistoric antecedent to the present-day alphabet.”
Different languages use different types of alphabets, characters, and script. You could take this same idea and apply it to computer fonts. Computers once came with one robotic-like font in neon green on a black screen. Now, it’s estimated that there are 300,000 fonts! You usually see the same font used for every day reads like books, newspapers, and online articles. But for other materials (flyers, ads, etc.) there are fun fonts that some may also consider as “hard to read” fonts. For instance:
One set is easier to read than the other, yes? This concept got some thinking, do you remember information the same in all fonts? Or does reading text in one font have an advantage?
Curious to know more, researchers at Princeton University and Indiana University tested four different font styles with information on adults ages 18 to 40. The participants had ample time to read and remember the information. 15-minutes later, the participants were given a test on the information they just read. The results showed that, “subjects scored 72.8% correct when they memorized information in the easy-to-read text, but the scored significantly better (86.5% correct) when they memorized information written in the difficult-to-read font.” Researches received the same results when they conducted the same experiment with high school students.
What scientist concluded, is that you pay closer attention to material when reading it in a hard to read font. Understanding the cognitive psychology behind memory and font, a team of designers and behavioral scientists from RMIT University set out on a mission. They designed a new font, Sans Forgetica. RMIT’s Behavioural Business Lab explains, “Sans Forgetica is more difficult to read than most typefaces – and that’s by design. The ‘desirable difficulty’ you experience when reading information formatted in Sans Forgetica prompts your brain to engage in deeper processing.” Keep watching the video below to find out more about the process of designing Sans Forgetica.
You can download the font for free from RMIT University or add it as an extension to Google Chrome. If you’re looking for a more traditional way to help with your memory, check out one of our memory courses we have available. Our How To Remember Names Effectively course is one of the most popular ones we have! Learn how politicians and other professionals remember names more effectively and apply those skills the next time your at a business event. Find out more today.