You’re more likely to remember something if you read it out loud, a study from the University of Waterloo has found.
Researchers discovered that speaking and reading aloud helps words stick in a person’s long-term memory. Dubbed the “production effect”, it is the dual action of speaking and hearing oneself that has the most beneficial impact on memory.
“This study confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement,” said the study’s co-author Colin MacLeod, a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at University of Waterloo in Canada.
“When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable.”
For the study, published in the journal Memory, researchers tested four methods for learning written information. These included: reading silently, hearing someone else read, listening to a recording of themselves reading and reading aloud in real time.
Results from tests with 95 participants showed that reading information aloud resulted in better memory recall.
“When we consider the practical applications of this research, I think of seniors who are advised to do puzzles and crosswords to help strengthen their memory,” said MacLeod.
“This study suggests that the idea of action or activity also improves memory. And we know that regular exercise and movement are also strong building blocks for a good memory.”
The research builds on previous studies by MacLeod, Noah Forrin (lead author of the study), and colleagues that measure the production effect of activities, such as writing and typing words, in enhancing overall memory retention.
Next time you need to remember something, you know what to do.