Cognitive Abilities Actually Improve With Difficult-to-Read Fonts

by Tanya Thomas on  May 31, 2011 at 11:54 PM Research News   - G J E 4
Researchers from Princeton University and Indiana University have discovered that 'difficult to read' fonts such as the 'Comic Sans' enable the reader to remember the content better.
 Cognitive Abilities Actually Improve With Difficult-to-Read Fonts
Cognitive Abilities Actually Improve With Difficult-to-Read Fonts

The font, which is generally disliked by designers and typographers because of its awkward weighting and haphazard kerning, has its own cognitive advantages.

To confirm the findings, researchers asked 28 volunteers to remember a set of features for three fictional characters.

One group received the list in 16-point Arial font while the other two groups received lists printed using 12-point Comic Sans MS or 12-point Bodoni MT.

"The study in our paper found that in a very controlled laboratory setting we could improve our subject's memory of certain facts by having them read information that was written in a font that was slightly more difficult to read," ABC Science quoted lead author Connor Diemand-Yauman as saying.

"Participants remembered the information significantly better if it was in a font that was harder to read. We were real excited by this finding," he added.

Furthermore, Jonah Lehrer, a neuroscience writer has expressed his fear that e-readers with their crisp fonts and clear display could make our brains lazy.

"I do worry that it will become so easy for the brain to read on an e-reader that we may actually start to see a decrease in what we remember and take away from a book," said Lehrer.

The study has been published in the journal Cognition.

Source: ANI

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