People Remember Tweets More Than Headlines, New Study Reveals

Social media has warped people’s perceptions in a number of ways, and it turns out that people are more likely to remember tweets that they have seen than news headlines. This comes from a study that was recently published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, and it shed some light on how information can be consumed online with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Participants in this study were shown 192 pieces of information, half of which were tweets with the other half consisting of news headlines. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the participants were able to see each item for 15 seconds. They were asked to rate each item based on how relevant it was to them on a personal level, allowing them to pay more attention than might have been the case otherwise.

After completing the task, participants were given a game to play after which they were shown 96 more items, half of which were new and the other half already having been seen by them. This revealed that tweets were far more memorable to the study participants. Such a finding is crucial because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up shaping how information ends up getting disseminated through social media.

In a separate but related study, the recall test was bookended by ten minute sudoku sessions. Once again, tweets proved to be easier for the participants to remember which just goes to show that old school news headlines aren’t quite as effective as they used to be in years prior.

It bears mentioning that both free recall as well as recognition were factored in as part of this test. Both types of memory showed that tweets were somewhat easier to remember. It will be interesting to see how this study affects the use of social media by news organizations, many of which have been struggling to stay relevant to any reasonable extent with social media leaving them far behind in a variety of scenarios.

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