Study Reveals Reading Aloud Enhances Memory, But Not Understanding

A recent study published in a journal called Memory and Cognition found that even though reading aloud can enhance memory, it cannot enhance understanding. Many researches about enhancing memory and memorizing content quickly have been made. There are many methods that enhance memory like taking quizzes, repetition and elaborate self explanation. But these kinds of methods are time consuming. A simple technique for memorizing content is probably reading it aloud.

Image: DIW-AIgen

The people who conducted this study performed four experiments. The first experiment included 47 participants who were given 10 passages from the Nelson Denny Reading Test. The participants were asked to either learn the passages by reading aloud or by reading them silently out of their own free will. Experiment 2 was giving the participants some reading content that was written in some unusual font. The unusual fonts played a part in making the reading material difficult. The number of total participants in this experiment were 64 and it was performed online during Covid-19.

Experiment 3 had 151 participants and they were asked to read the passages just like participants in experiment 1, but their data quality was enhanced. This experiment was also performed online. Experiment 4 was about generalizing the findings in the study and examining the effect of comprehension more closely. The total number of participants for this experiment were 131.

During the experiments, the researchers soon found out that participants who were reading aloud were memorizing more quickly than participants who were silently reading. But when it came to the understanding and comprehension of the provided material, the participants who were reading aloud had little understanding of what they were memorizing as compared to participants who were silently memorizing. This means that even though vocalization does make you remember things more quickly, it doesn’t make you understand them completely. This study is solely based on the participants who took part in the experiment so there is no proof whether this condition can be applied to the whole world or not.

Image: DIW-Aigen

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