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Online social content easier to recall than printed info

Recollecting trivial and sometimes dull Facebook posts is easier than recalling the same information in a book. It also takes less effort to remember posted patter than someone's face, according to new research.

The result could be due to the colloquial and largely spontaneous nature of Facebook posts. Whereas books and newspapers typically are combed over by fact-checkers and carefully rewritten by editors, Facebook posts tend to be free flowing and more closely resemble speech. "It's a new way of thinking about memory," says John Wixted, an experimental psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, who was not involved in the research. "Our minds are naturally prepared to encode what is naturally produced."

If memories are the product of evolution, then the ability to remember socially derived conversations may have provided an advantage that helped early humans survive, he adds.

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