Team new Zealand and British researchers experimentally disproved the effectiveness of font Sans Forgetica, which, according to its makers, improves the memorization of the text due to the complexity of reading. Scientists have found that despite the fact that the text is written in such a font really difficult to read, information written with it, is remembered not much better than if you use plain Arial, which was only one percent. A study published in the journal Memory.
In the fall of 2018, Australian designers, along with researchers from RMIT University presented Forgetica Sans — a font designed to better remember information. The idea of the creators of the font was that people will spend more time and effort to read it Sans Forgetica the text so as to make it more difficult, and therefore will be more focused on processing of read — bringing to memorize the text will be easier.
To confirm the effectiveness of the Sans Forgetica, scientists conducted a small experiment involving 303 people: half of you had to read and memorize a couple of words written in the new font and the other half — a pair of words, written in Arial. Participants from the first group remembered 57 percent read seven percent more than participants in the second group.
Andrew Taylor (Andrea Taylor) from new Zealand, University of Waikato and her colleagues rightly considered that the effect discovered by the creators of the font in the assessment of its effectiveness, fairly small, and decided to check it again on another sample with a few experiments.
In the first experiment participants (151 people) were divided into two groups and gave them a text written Forgetica either Sans or Arial — and after reading were asked to estimate how much text was difficult (on a scale from 1 to 7). Participants reported that, on average, Sans Forgetica actually made the text harder to understand (3,04 2,32 against for Arial).
In the second experiment (156 people) participants were given pairs of words, either written in one font or another, and asked them to remember to do exactly the same task used in the original study of the efficiency Sans Forgetica. After reading, participants were allowed to solve arithmetical problems for 10, 20 or 30 seconds and then showed the first word from the original job — and asked the following.
Contrary to what appeared in the original study, participants in the new study, worse remembered the words written Sans Forgetica: depending on how much time between the tasks the participants solved examples, they are remembered by 10.26–13.52 percentage of words written in a Sans Forgetica less.
Assuming that this difference is due to the fact that the words the participants were shown within just 100 milliseconds, and they simply do not have time to read them, the researchers conducted a third experiment with the participation of 300 volunteers. Participants were asked to read small text, paragraphs, which were written either Forgetica Sans or Arial, but after reading allowed to play a card game. After that, the volunteers had to pass a small test on motives of the read: the issues there were paragraphs written by one or the other font.
Questions on the text written in the font Sans Forgetica, the participants were given just 1.49 percent of correct answers more — and scientists thought that the font memory is affected about the same.
Finally, in the fourth experiment involved 271 people: the task was exactly the same as in the third experiment, but the participants needed more (as well as to answer more questions). Again, after reading Sans Forgetica participants were able to correctly answer just 0.58% more questions after reading than Arial which is also about the same.
The idea of using difficult to read font for better memory can explain a “desirable difficulty,” which in 1994 described the California psychologist Robert Bjork (Björk Robert): in accordance with this effect, the person is better remembers what to remember is not too easy and not too hard. Despite the fact that the font is Sans Forgetica the participants actually think is hard to understand, the complexity of the font itself, apparently, does not change the complexity of the text so that it was possible to achieve the same desired complexity. However, the authors do not exclude that Sans Forgetica can be useful for individuals or for longer periods between reading and testing but it needs to be verified in other studies.
Sans Forgetica is not the first font that was designed for potential students. Two years ago, an advertising Agency MSCHF came up with the Newer font is Times Roman — it looks exactly the same as Times New Roman, but the characters in it slightly wider: it is possible, for example, to catch up with the minimum threshold of pages in essays, using less text.