Study: Facebook posts prove very memorable

Jan. 15, 2013 at 4:36 PM
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WARWICK, England, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- People are better at remembering Facebook posts than human faces or sentences from books, a study by British and U.S. researchers has found.

Researchers at the University of Warwick in Britain and the University of California, San Diego, said the study suggests our memories favor natural, spontaneous writing over polished, edited content.

Study participants were tested for their memory of text taken from Facebook posts, stripped of images and removed from the context of Facebook, compared to their memory for sentences picked at random from books and also their recall of human faces.

Participants' memory for Facebook posts was about 1 1/2 times better than their memory for sentences from books, while they remembered the posts almost 2 1/2 times better than faces.

"We were really surprised when we saw just how much stronger memory for Facebook posts was compared to other types of stimuli," Warwick researcher Laura Mickes said.

"These kinds of gaps in performance are on a scale similar to the differences between amnesiacs and people with healthy memory."

The study suggests our minds may better at perceiving, storing and recalling information contained in online posts because they are in a so-called 'mind-ready' format, being spontaneous, unedited and closer to natural speech, the researchers said.

"Modern technologies allow written language to return more closely to the casual, personal style of pre-literate communication," researcher Christine Harris said. "And this is the style that resonates, and is remembered."

Results of the study were reported in the journal Memory & Cognition.

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