Research on reading, writing and human memory isn’t new. In fact, Cuneiform, the first Sumerian writing system, emerged in Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. And since that time scholars have attempted to grasp how documented communication connects and affects human beings. Neuroscientists in particular have attempted to understand the ways that our brain encodes and recalls the things that we write and read, versus speak, hear, taste, touch or smell. Or – more accurately – how all the senses work in tandem to remember and recall things that are written.
But a new, unique study from RMIT University in Australia has concluded what many have believed to be true for a long time: We really do have to work for our knowledge. “When a piece of information is too easily and cleanly read, it can fail to engage our brains in the kind of deeper cognitive processing necessary for effective retention and recall,” the report says. Or stated in laymen’s terms, the more you must focus on a task, the better you are at it.
Thus, the introduction of Sans Forgetica, a type font that was specifically designed to boost memory. Sans Forgetica is an attempt to address what RMIT researchers referred to as a, “somewhat ironic flaw of design. By disrupting the flow of individual letterforms, readers are subtly prompted to increase their focus on the text being communicated.”
A body of evidence as evolved in recent years about the decline of longhand writing, especially during meetings and classes. And it has come to light that typing notes on a computer amplifies mindless transcription with verbatim recording of what we hear. This means that the brain does not process the information well because the encoding process is shallower. A study published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education found that when children who had not yet learned to read or write were asked to trace, draw or type a letter, the recall for the letter when viewed later in an MRI machine was different. Recognition was greatest for the letters than had been independently drawn because it activated three brain regions – more than either those who traced the letter or typed it.
In three distinct studies on young adults, college students who took manual notes in class (thus physically writing their thoughts with pen and paper and reframing them) performed significantly better when tested on conceptually-based questions.
Source: Can A Font Improve Your Memory?