Facebook posts and reader comments are more memorable than human faces or sentences from books, a new study says. Researchers found that status updates are one-and-a-half times more memorable than sentences from books and two-and-a-half times more memorable than faces.
The same researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Warwick are looking into how microblogs relate to human memory, with the same results applying to tweets, and most likely text messages.
The succinct, unedited tone of microblogging brings people closer to natural language, making it “mind-ready,” says cognitive psychologist Laura Mickes.
“I think this works across the board,” Mickes tells Mashable. “It’s not just who you’re writing to, it’s your audience. It’s how you sit down and write these things with unfiltered, spontaneous language.”
All those seemingly-trivial snippets all over your news feed aren’t as forgettable as you may think. Shared information does have a privileged status and is remembered more readily, the study says.
Mickes and her colleagues gathered 200 anonymous Facebook posts and removed emoticons, all-CAPS, multiple exclamation points and other distractions. Statuses included philosophical musings such as, “i am 7,689 days old…” and “Bc sometimes it makes me wonder.”
Random sentences from books were also given to subjects, including “Cody raised his .40 Sig Sauer in a shooter’s grip,” and “Even honor had its limits.” The self-paced recognition tests showed that posts were more memorable.
The same type of method was applied with faces, but Facebook posts trumped facial recognition. In a similar fashion, CNN news headlines were tested with reader comments. User posts like “I am an unemployed teacher in the deep south” won out over breaking news sentences of the same length.
Entertainment headlines with a “gossipy” tone, much like Facebook posts, were also easily recalled. Users who posted were of all ages, showcasing that the effectiveness of “mind-ready” language is not limited to the young.
What impact do you think microblogs have on your memory? Share your thoughts in the comments (which may be more memorable) below.