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Font and the Impact of the Written Word

based on 58 ratings
Author: Megan Doyle

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science

Objective:

This experiment will investigate whether font choice affects peoples’ ability to remember the information that they read.

Research Questions:

  • Does font affect test subjects’ ability to remember written information?

When people read a piece of paper, does the choice of font affect their ability to remember what they read? In this experiment, you will address this question by testing participants’ abilities to recall written information.

Materials:

  • Test subjects
  • 10 different fonts ranging from simple to complex
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Timer
  • Notebook for recording results

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Compose a list of thirty different everyday objects (eg, scissors, hair brush, shampoo, etc…).
  2. Print your list with five different font styles. Make sure the size of the words are comparable between lists. Include some fonts that are bolded and some that are italicized.
  3. Gather 50-100 similarly aged test subjects.
  4. Divide your test subjects into five groups.
  5. Ask each group of subjects to spend two minutes studying one of the lists you created. Use a different font style with each group.
  6. Take the list away, and after ten minutes ask each group to write down all of the items that they can remember from the list.
  7. Analyze your results. For each group, what was the average number of items remembered from each list? Are there certain fonts that seem to reduce test subjects’ ability to remember the listed items? Which group performed the worst on the memory test? What font was used with that group? Which font resulted in the best performance on the memory test? Does bolding or italicizing a font appear to affect memory?

Terms/Concepts: font and memory

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