LiveScience reports that a study in the journal Cognition asserts that people are able to learn and remember things better when they’re in odd, more difficult to read fonts. The idea is that the fonts force the students to work harder and thereby help them retain the information.
Here’s how they did the test: Material — they made up names of fake alien species — was presented to test subjects in clean, easy-to-read Arial and in Comic Sans MT and Bodoni MT. The volunteers read the lists for 90 seconds, then they were distracted for 15 minutes, with a test following that. The “disfluent” lists — the ones in Comic Sans and Bodoni — produced an average of 14% better recall.
And the they tried it with real students, using Haettenschweiler, Monotype Corsiva, and Comic Sans Italicized, and putting real classroom presentations in those fonts. Result: Better grades.
What this means is that Comic Sans may be hideous, but it has its place in the world besides angry screeds by the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. If you’re a student and your professor starts to put material in funky fonts, you’ll know why.