Study: People better at remembering Facebook posts than book sentences, faces
Ruth Sindico (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2013 - 4:30pm

MANILA, Philippines - People can remember Facebook posts better than sentences from books and people's faces, according to a study conducted by the United Kingdom's University of Warwick published in the journal, Memory and Cognition.

The "Major Memory for Microblogs" research "tested memory for text taken from anonymized Facebook updates, stripped of images and removed from the context of Facebook, and compared it to memory for sentences picked at random from books and also to human faces." 

Results from the first test showed that participants remembered Facebook posts one and a half times better than they did the passages from the books.

The second test, which compared participants' memory of Facebook posts and people's faces, yielded almost the same results: participants remembered the Facebook posts two and a half times better than they did the faces.

“We were really surprised when we saw just how much stronger memory for Facebook posts was compared to other types of stimuli.These kinds of gaps in performance are on a scale similar to the differences between amnesiacs and people with healthy memory,” the University of Warwick quoted lead author, Dr. Laura Mickes, as saying.

Prof. Christine Harris, also one of the study's authors, said that the "findings might not seem so surprising when one considers how important both memory and the social world have been for survival over humans' ancestral history."

"We learn about rewards and threats from others. So it makes sense that our minds would be tuned to be particularly attentive to the activities and thoughts of people and to remember the information conveyed by them," she said

Mickes added that “writing that is easy and quick to generate is also easy to remember - the more casual and unedited, the more ‘mind-ready’ it is."

“Of course we’re not suggesting textbooks written entirely in tweets, nor should editors be rendered useless, but textbook writers or lecturers using PowerPoint could certainly benefit from using more natural speech to get information across. And outside these settings, at the very least maybe we should take more care about what we post on Facebook as it seems those posts might just be remembered for a long time,” she said.

CHRISTINE HARRIS DR. LAURA MICKES FACEBOOK MAJOR MEMORY MEMORY MEMORY AND COGNITION MICROBLOGS UNITED KINGDOM UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
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