It was previously claimed that the font Sans Forgetica, a type font created by a multidisciplinary team of designers and behavioural scientists from RMIT University, could enhance people’s memory for information, however researchers have found after carrying out numerous experiments that the font does not enhance memory.
Researcher Dr Kimberley Wade, from the Department of Psychology from Warwick University comments:
“After conducting four peer-reviewed experiments into Sans Forgetica and comparing it to Arial, we can confidently say that Sans Forgetica promotes a feeling of disfluency, but does not boost memory like it is claimed to.
“In fact, it seems like although Sans Forgetica is novel and hard to read, its effects might well end there.”
Scientists working at the intersection of cognitive psychology and education have developed theoretically-grounded methods to help people learn. One important yet counterintuitive finding is that making information harder to learn – that is, creating desirable difficulties – benefits learners. Some studies suggest that simply presenting information in a difficult-to-read font could serve as a desirable difficulty and therefore promote learning. To address this possibility, we examined the extent to which Sans Forgetica, a newly developed font, improves memory performance – as the creators of the font claim. Across four experiments, we set out to replicate unpublished findings by the font’s creators. Subjects read information in Sans Forgetica or Arial, and rated how difficult the information was to read (Experiment 1) or attempted to recall the information (Experiments 2–4). Although subjects rated Sans Forgetica as being more difficult to read than Arial, Sans Forgetica led to equivalent memory performance, and sometimes even impaired it. These findings suggest that although Sans Forgetica promotes a feeling of disfluency, it does not create a desirable difficulty or benefit memory.