Research Finds we Recall Facebook Statuses More Frequently Than Faces

By Emily Murray

What do you think you could recall faster, a line from a book you’ve read or a Facebook status you saw posted?

According to new research published in the journal Memory & Cognition, you are one and half times more likely to remember Facebook posts than you are to remember a sentence you read in a book. When it comes to facial recognition, Facebook posts trump that area as well. You are two and half times as likely to remember a Facebook status than you are to remember the face of someone you’ve met.

These results came from research out of the University of California San Diego. A group of 280 undergrads were gathered for the experiment which consisted of each student reading 100 sentences from Facebook pages, 100 sentences for books and also looking at a serious of photos of human faces. In order to level the playing field, and make words lest likely to stick out, all instances of capitalization, punctuation and any other distractions like emoticons were removed. In theory, the words in the book should have been very similar to the words on the Facebook pages.

The students were asked to look at lines from books, Facebook statuses  and the photos and identify which they had been shown before. It was much more challenging for the participants to correctly identify faces and lines from the books they had read but Facebook statuses seemed to be more memorable.

So why is that?

One theory is the tone in which the content is written. Think about the way in which most Facebook statuses are written. They are conversational in tone, sometimes humorous and are often lighthearted or even gossip worthy. These types of sentences seem to strike a cord with our memories, categorizing them as easier to recall than the words in book or faces we have seen.

When words are written the way we typically speak, they are more likely to stay in our minds and mesh more cohesively with our thoughts.

Food for thought, right?