Fortune favors the bold (and the Italicized): effects of disfluency on educational outcomes

Cognition. 2011 Jan;118(1):111-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.09.012. Epub 2010 Oct 30.


Previous research has shown that disfluency--the subjective experience of difficulty associated with cognitive operations - leads to deeper processing. Two studies explore the extent to which this deeper processing engendered by disfluency interventions can lead to improved memory performance. Study 1 found that information in hard-to-read fonts was better remembered than easier to read information in a controlled laboratory setting. Study 2 extended this finding to high school classrooms. The results suggest that superficial changes to learning materials could yield significant improvements in educational outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Mental Processes*
  • Social Environment
  • Teaching Materials*
  • Visual Perception
  • Young Adult