The Verbatim Effect: People Remember Gist Better Than Details - Deepstash

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The Verbatim Effect

The Verbatim Effect

The verbatim effect is a cognitive bias that makes people remember the general outline and meaning of the information that is provided and not the exact, complete details.

Example: While reading a long text, a person can remember what the core message was, but not the entire text.

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Why We Experience the Verbatim Effect

Why We Experience the Verbatim Effect

There are two main memory processes:

  • Gist Memory concentrates on the core meaning of the information.
  • Verbatim Memory focuses on the surface form or the easily visible part of the information.

The Gist Memory is encoded in a better way because it is an important part of the information, and is not apparent at first, making it desirable and thus easier to retain.

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Variance in the Verbatim Effect

The Verbatim Effect varies in its influence on people and may or may not occur in situations, as it depends on several factors like:

  • The individual's preferences, abilities, and experience.
  • The type of information, along with the reason for interacting with the information. A meaningless piece of information will not have any verbatim effect on an individual.

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The Verbatim Effect's Influence on Us

Two ways by which the verbatim effect can benefit us:

  • It makes us understand what information we can easily remember and what we can forget.
  • It makes us learn more effectively.

Remembering the gist of the information leads to better outcomes than the 'rote' way in which we mug up the information without understanding.

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The Verbatim Effect's Influence on Others

The Verbatim Effect's Influence on Others

The Influence on others happens in several ways:

  • Understanding the Verbatim Effect can help us present the information in a tailored way, facilitating retention in others, using repetition or highlighting.
  • This can also help us make people remember the tiny details, leading to avoidance of common misunderstandings.
  • It can help us trim our presentations, removing all the information that we know won't be remembered by the audience anyway.

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