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ADMIN Re: Article: The Secret Of Impressive Writing? Keep It Plain And Simple
Subject:ADMIN Re: Article: The Secret Of Impressive Writing? Keep It Plain And Simple From:"Lisa M. Bronson" <lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com> To:"arroxaneullman -at- aol -dot- com" <arroxaneullman -at- aol -dot- com> Date:Thu, 20 Apr 2006 10:04:46 -0500
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On 4/20/06, arroxaneullman -at- aol -dot- com <arroxaneullman -at- aol -dot- com> wrote:
> This comes from the "We new that, but thanks for studying it" section
> of the news. Thought I'd share it, because the study could be a helpful
> "I told you so" reference.
> From http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051031075447.htm:
> Writers who use long words needlessly and choose complicated font
> styles are seen as less intelligent than those who stick with basic
> vocabulary and plain text, according to new research from the Princeton
> University in New Jersey, to be published in the next edition of
> Applied Cognitive Psychology.
> This implies that efforts to impress readers by using florid font
> styles and searching through a thesaurus may have the opposite effect.
> Study author Daniel Oppenheimer based his findings on students'
> responses to writing samples for which the complexity of the font or
> vocabulary was systematically manipulated. In a series of five
> experiments, he found that people tended to rate the intelligence of
> authors who wrote essays in simpler language, using an easy to read
> font, as higher than those who authored more complex works.
> "It's important to point out that this research is not about problems
> with using long words but about using long words needlessly," said
> study author Daniel Oppenheimer.
> "Anything that makes a text hard to read and understand, such as
> unnecessarily long words or complicated fonts, will lower readers'
> evaluations of the text and its author."
> The samples of text included graduate school applications, sociology
> dissertation abstracts, and translations of a work of Descartes. Times
> New Roman and italicised Juice font were used in samples to further
> assess the effect of fluency on rating levels.
> Interestingly, by making people aware that the source of low fluency
> was irrelevant to judgement, Oppenheimer found that they
> overcompensated and became biased in the opposite direction. In a final
> experiment, he provided samples of text printed with normal and low
> printer toner levels. The low toner levels made the text harder to
> read, but readers were able to identify the toner as being responsible
> for the difficulty, and therefore didn't blame the authors.
> "The continuing popularity amongst students of using big words and
> attractive font styles may be due to the fact that they may not realise
> these techniques could backfire," Oppenheimer noted.
> "One thing seems certain: write as simply and plainly as possible and
> it's more likely you'll be thought of as intelligent."
> Daniel M. Oppenheimer, Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized
> Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly,
> Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology 2005, DOI: 10.1002/acp.1178
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