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

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.

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.

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.

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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RELATED IDEAS

The humor effect defined
The humor effect is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to remember information better when that information is perceived as funny or humorous.

The use of humor enhances people’s memory, whether they are trying to remember verbal information, such as words and sentences, or visual information, such as pictures and videos.

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Take advantage of the bandwagon effect

For example, you could choose to openly display social proof or bandwagon cues, in order to signal to other people that there is support for whatever it is you are promoting

Video-sharing sites demonstrate the benefits of displaying these cues, since people often use popularity cues such as the number of views that a video has in order to decide whether to watch it or not.

To reduce the just-world bias

... you can attempt to negate the intuitive assumption that there is always a perfect link between actions and consequences, by using various debiasing techniques, and by examining the situation in question in order to analyze the possible action-consequence link in it in a rational manner.

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