Researchers have found that reading a text in an unfamiliar, harder to read font results in better retention than reading the same text in an easy to read font.
A counter-intuitive result like this begs for an explanation. Essentially, the theory the researchers put forward is that when your brain has to put more effort into understanding what the text says, the material works its way deeper into your memory. It’s something that actually makes sense once you reflect on the fact that any active mind work on a given subject helps you remember it, whether that work is rereading, explaining it to someone else, or just putting effort into figuring out the meaning rather than just passively running your eyes over it.
This has obvious implications for education.
It also makes me wonder if I should change the font in my Outlook calendar and address book, since I often find I can’t remember the last half of a phone number I just read five seconds ago.