Monday, May 1, 2017

Hard and Sticky

But easy's like, who cares? Easy's like, how much is easy going to get you?
― Anne Lamott

How often have you been told to make your content easy?

Easy to skim, scan, and swallow.

Easy's best.

Not always, say two Princeton neuroscientists.

They've shown disfluency―the processing by the brain of hard-to-read content―increases the content's impact.

Adam Alter and Daniel Oppenheimer asked 3,400 subjects to take problem-solving tests and found the subjects repeatedly scored higher when the tests were disfluent (i.e., printed in hard-to-read typefaces).

"Disfluency led participants to adopt a more systematic processing strategy," the researchers concluded.

Additional neuroscientific evidence indicates hard-to-read content triggers an alarm in the brain that activates the prefrontal cortex responsible for careful thought.

The harder we have to work to understand a piece of content, the stickier it becomes.
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