Is It Easier To Memorize Words With Fewer Syllables?

3.0 based on 6 ratings

Updated on Dec 17, 2013


Social Science


Elementary school/Middle School

Difficulty of Project



Less than $1

Safety Issues


Material Availability

Easily available from the internet or your brain.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

At least an hour


  • To establish whether it is easier to memorize words with fewer syllables.
  • To understand how memory works.

  • A list of numbers
  • A list of one-syllable words
  • A list of two-syllable words
  • A list of three-syllable words

(Note: these lists will be completely random.No word will link to another on the list.For instance, if you had “hat”, the next word should not be “head”.)


Many people have trouble with memorization.Some use mnemonic devices in order to help them memorize long words.Others may find longer words easier to memorize, since if you remember the first syllable, the rest might come back to you, but find short words more difficult to memorize.Which, in general, is easier?

Research Questions
  • Are words with fewer syllables easier to memorize?
  • Are words with more syllables harder to memorize?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
  • How does memory work?
  • Is there research which shows people having an easier time remembering words with fewer syllables?
  • How can you compare people who have different memory capacities?

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather a group of subjects who are interested in participating in this experiment.
  2. Divide these subjects into three groups.
  3. Give each subject (in all groups) a list of numbers to memorize and a set time in which to memorize it.This is your control, and will inform you how the subject’s memorization skills are in general.
  4. Give the subject a second list to memorize, and a set time in which to memorize it in, based on the group that he/she is in: a. In group A, give the subject a list of one-syllable words. b. In group B, give the subject a list of two-syllable words. c. In group C, give the subject a list of three-syllable words.
  5. Compare the accuracy and number of words recalled for each group.


Vanhuele, Marc; Laurent, Gilles; Dreze, Xavier; Calder, Bobby.“People Remember Prices More Easily If They Have Fewer Syllables.” Medical News Today.June 24, 2006.
Berman, Dennis R.“US Patent 6585520 - Method and system for enhancing memorization by using a mnemonic display.”July 1, 2003.
A graduate of Brandeis University, Sharon Cooper loves anything having to do with English, History, and Creative Writing. When she is not creating science fair ideas, she is translating Chaucer, writing short stories, or reading various works of literature. To discuss literature or literary experimentation, please contact Sharon at

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