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Facebook Is More Memorable Than Books

01/17/2013 07:15 am ET

Facebook is more memorable than real books, according to a new study by academics at the University of Warwick and the University of California, San Diego.

Science Daily reports the scientists took text from anonymized Facebook updates and compared them with random sentences from books, and also to human faces.

What they found, according to their report Major Memory for Microblogs, published in the journal Memory & Cognition, was that participants remembered the Facebook posts one and a half times more than sentences from books, and two and a half times more than faces.

According to the article,

It seems that, as one might expect, Facebook updates are easier to memorise as they are usually stand-alone bits of information that tend to be gossipy in nature.

However, the study suggests that another, more general phenomenon, is also at play. That is, our minds may better take in, store, and bring forth information gained from online posts because they are in what the researchers call 'mind-ready' formats -- i.e., they are spontaneous, unedited and closer to natural speech.

These features seem to give them a special memorability, with similar results being found for Twitter posts as well as comments under online news articles.

The researchers go on to say that they aren't suggesting that textbooks or literature should be written "entirely in tweets", but it certainly shows the power of casual, spontaneous-sounding speech in writing - as well as the unexpected durability of what we write on Facebook.

What do you think? Do you remember Facebook more than print books? Let us know in the comments!

(h/t Salon)

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