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Reading information in the Sans Forgetica typeface doesn’t actually help you remember it

Despite claims that reading information in the Sans Forgetica can help you remember it more easily, new research has found that although the typeface might be unusual, it doesn’t actually boost memory.

The typeface was created by scientists at RMIT University in Australia and gained a lot of buzz after it was released in 2018. The team suggested that as Sans Forgetica feels more difficult to read, information presented in this typeface is more likely to be remembered, a claim backed up by their study on 400 students which found that 57 percent remembered facts written in Sans Forgetica, while 50 percent remembered facts written in Arial.

However, researchers from the University of Waikato, New Zealand and the University of Warwick, UK have now carried out their own study to investigate whether reading in Sans Forgetica really does enhance memory.

The team carried out four experiments with a total of 882 people to compare Sans Forgetica with Arial.

The findings, published in the journal Memory, showed that Sans Forgetica does feel harder to read compared to Arial, but when people were shown pairs of words in Sans Forgetica or Arial, they actually remember less Sans Forgetica pairs than Arial pairs.

In addition, when participants were shown some educational information in Sans Forgetica and Arial, there was no evidence that they remembered more of the information when it was presented in Sans Forgetica. There was also no evidence to suggest that people understood educational passages presented in Sans Forgetica more than ones in Arial.”After conducting four peer-reviewed experiments into Sans Forgetica and comparing it to Arial, we can confidently say that Sans Forgetica promotes a feeling of disfluency, but does not boost memory like it is claimed to,” commented Dr Kimberley Wade from the University of Warwick.”In fact, it seems like although Sans Forgetica is novel and hard to read, its effects might well end there.” added Andrea Taylor, from the University of Waikato.”Our findings suggest we should encourage students to rely on robust, theoretically-grounded techniques that really do enhance learning, rather than hard-to-read fonts.”

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