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Facebook Banter More Memorable Than Lines From Recent Books 78

sciencehabit writes "Scientists have found that, when it comes to mental recall, people are far more likely to remember the text of idle chitchat on social media platforms like Facebook than the carefully crafted sentences of books. The team gathered 200 Facebook posts from the accounts of undergraduate research assistants, such as 'Bc sometimes it makes me wonder' and 'The library is a place to study, not to talk on your phone.' They also randomly selected 200 sentences from recently published books, gathered from free text on Amazon.com. Sentences included, 'Underneath the mass of facial hair beamed a large smile,' and 'Even honor had its limits.' Facebook posts were one-and-a-half times as memorable as the book sentences (abstract). The researchers speculate that effortless chatter is better than well-crafted sentences at tapping into our minds' basic language capacities — because human brains evolved to prioritize and remember unfiltered information from social interaction."
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Facebook Banter More Memorable Than Lines From Recent Books

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:09PM (#42630323)

    I used to be a voracious reader, anything really fiction/non-fiction/blahh

    But it's like I hit a quota one day and shifted to reading nothing but stuff online, I'm finding my television and film viewing is also shifting away to YouTube or videos on my computer. Why watch the whole "Daily Show" when I can see all the best bits (in gif form?)

    Is it the narcissistic joy of interacting with an audience that generates tons of new content EVERY DAY that draws me in or something else?

    Or is it just me having a short attention span?

    What is it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:36PM (#42630503)

    This clearly demonstrates the so-called scientists' inability to properly select unbiased parameters for their study. A sentence in a book comes with a lot of necessary and significant context. Whereas the drivel on Facebook and Twitter has virtually no context what-so-ever except for the immediately preceding sentence of drivel. They have performed an expensive study comparing apples and oranges and simply concluded that apples aren't orange in color.

  • Re:News at 11 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:39PM (#42630517)
    They're still books. These sentences are likely to feel obscure when ripped out of context. Casual communication is much choppier, the FB postings probably aren't bleeding on their sides.
  • by conspirator23 ( 207097 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:39PM (#42630519)

    So we have list A, made up of the day-to-day commentary of college undergraduates. Then we have list B, made up of random snippets of contemporary popular literature. The context for both lists are stripped away, and then they are fed to college undergraduates to see which set is more resonant?

    Why of course, this must have to do with some sort of innate cognitive affinity for poorly constructed sentences! What else could it be?!?!?!?! One thing I know for sure... the results of this research are going to be really hard for me to remember later on.

  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:22PM (#42630767)

    This post brought to you by Brawndo. It's got electrolytes! Don't miss tonight's episode of "Ow, My Balls!".

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"