Be Less Stupid, Geniuspalooza, The Latest — April 8, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Does Font Type Affect Learning? Take Our Test.

by
Penandink
Does font type affect learning? Take our test.

Does Font Type Affect Learning?

Based on some casual website research, it appears that the most popular font used in website design is helvetica. It’s the font you are reading right now.

However, there are other fonts which are also popular. Like ariel. You’re reading “ariel” right now.

Some people prefer courier new… because it’s the font that looks the most like an old typewriter. 

The New York Times uses Georgia on its front page.

G-Mail’s default font is sans serif. However, “sans serif” is not one of the fonts offered on my WP blog, so this is comic sans.

Meanwhile, my MacBook Pro’s default font is helvetica.

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See This vs That’s 1-hour series premiere. Click HERE.

I suspect that most people give very little thought to the font type they are reading or typing with. That is, unless you are a technologically savvy kidnapper. In which case, you’re going to need a font that looks like individual letters torn from junk mail, newspapers and old porn magazines.

And yet, while you may not give much thought to the type of font you are reading… it turns out that the type of font you read can have a dramatic impact on your retention, your learning and your cognitive abilities. According to a recent study, students in a variety of subjects had remembered more material, had learned material more deeply, and performed better on exams than the control group, when they were taught material using a more difficult to read font. The students who performed better were given handouts, shown power points and given reading material in subjects like english, history and science in a font that required them to take more time to read — because it was literally more difficult to read. The control group was taught the same material, given the same handouts, etc… only the font the material was written in was easier to read, like ariel, helvetica or courier.

OK. So you want to know why? Well, the more difficult font to read takes you longer to read… you have to concentrate on it harder… you have to focus longer. And it turns out that this extra effort on your part, causes the brain to store the material in a more complex and deeper way. The easier to read material is well, it’s more “slippery.” The brain doesn’t store it more complexly because the manner in which it was input was so casual.

So — let’s try a very simple experiment. Below you’ll find a section from Facebook’s privacy policy. You will see it there, twice. The first version is written in the easy to read font “helvetica”. The second version is written in the slightly more difficult to read font “Impact italic.”  

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Click here to see our 1-hour series premiere, FREE.

If your first name begins with a letter from “A” to “M” you should read the first paragraph. If you’re first name begins with a letter between “N” and “Z” you should read the second paragraph. After each paragraph, there will be three questions for you to answer. Everyone will get the same questions. We’ll tally the answers and report back ASAP. So, check back often. Thanks.

Remember: Read the entire first block of text – meaning, all the material after the word “thanks” in this paragraph… all the way to the first quiz question —  if your first name begins with the letters “A” to “M”. Oh — give yourself 1 minute to read! And for the love of Pete, please don’t look back at the paragraph when you are answering the three questions. Thanks.

Anyone can add a link to a story. Links are references to something on the Internet; anything from a website to a Page or timeline on Facebook. For example, if you are writing a story, you might include a link to a blog you are referencing or a link to the blogger’s Facebook timeline. If someone clicks on a link to another person’s timeline, they’ll only see the things that they are allowed to see.
A tag is a special type of link to someone’s timeline that suggests that the tagged person add your story to their timeline. In cases where the tagged person isn’t included in the audience of the story, it will add them so they can see it. Anyone can tag you in anything. Once you are tagged, you and your friends will be able to see it (such as in News Feed or in search).
You can choose whether a story you’ve been tagged in appears on your timeline. You can either approve each story individually or approve all stories by your friends. If you approve a story and later change your mind, you can always remove it from your timeline.
If you do not want someone to tag you, we encourage you to reach out to them and give them that feedback. If that does not work, you can block them. This will prevent them from tagging you going forward.
Social reporting is a way for people to quickly and easily ask for help from someone they trust.
If you are linked to in a private space (such as a message or a group) only the people who can see the private space can see the link. Similarly, if you are linked to a comment, only the people who can see the comment can see the link.

Who Can Tag You In a Photo or Story?

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How do you 100% prevent someone from tagging you in a story or photo?

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How Do You Approve Stories You're Tagged In To Appear On Your Time Line

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Remember: Read this block of text below if your first name begins with the letters “N” to “Z”. You will read from after the word “thanks” in this paragraph… all the way to the first quiz question. Oh — give yourself 1 minute to read! And for the love of Pete, please don’t look back at the paragraph when you are answering the three questions. Thanks.

Anyone can add a link to a story. Links are references to something on the Internet; anything from a website to a Page or timeline on Facebook. For example, if you are writing a story, you might include a link to a blog you are referencing or a link to the blogger’s Facebook timeline. If someone clicks on a link to another person’s timeline, they’ll only see the things that they are allowed to see.
A tag is a special type of link to someone’s timeline that suggests that the tagged person add your story to their timeline. In cases where the tagged person isn’t included in the audience of the story, it will add them so they can see it. Anyone can tag you in anything. Once you are tagged, you and your friends will be able to see it (such as in News Feed or in search).
You can choose whether a story you’ve been tagged in appears on your timeline. You can either approve each story individually or approve all stories by your friends. If you approve a story and later change your mind, you can always remove it from your timeline.
If you do not want someone to tag you, we encourage you to reach out to them and give them that feedback. If that does not work, you can block them. This will prevent them from tagging you going forward.
Social reporting is a way for people to quickly and easily ask for help from someone they trust.
If you are linked to in a private space (such as a message or a group) only the people who can see the private space can see the link. Similarly, if you are linked to a comment, only the people who can see the comment can see the link.

Who can tag you in a photo or story?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

How do you 100% prevent someone from tagging you in a story or photo?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

How Do You Approve Stories You're Tagged In To Appear On Your Time Line

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Thank you very much for playing along. And if you enjoyed this experiment, would you kindly share it by clicking one of the buttons below.

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35 Comments

  1. marcbrooks

    The instructions are HORRIBLE. The use of paragraph when you mean reading the entire block makes it almost impossible to know what the correct amount to read is, and if followed directly makes it impossible to answer any of the questions asked since the first paragraph has none of the answers.

    Also, you’re doing a really terrible study by preselecting the audience but not cross-testing the actual thing being examined. Since different subjects are answering the different fonts, this cannot actually test the premise until you control for the reading skill of individuals some other way.

    • Marc, clearly I thought it was clear. But, obviously, I was wrong. For which, I apologize. I have gone back and adjusted the text to make it crystal clear. Thanks for alerting me.

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