The Fluency Heuristic and Learning
Here is some new work on the Fluency Heuristic, discussed at length in Chapter 4 of On Second Thought. This study comes from Danny Oppenheimer of Princeton, published in the journal Cognition, and the gist is that learning improves if information is printed in a difficult-to-read font. That’s because easy-to-read fonts are cognitively palatable, so they’re easier to process–but only at a superficial level. We are more apt to skim material that’s in an easy-to-read font, whereas a difficult-to-read font makes us slow down and concentrate. Hence better learning.
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