Influence of letter shape on readers’ emotional experience, reading fluency, and text comprehension and memorisation
ID Medved, Tanja (Author), ID Podlesek, Anja (Author), ID Možina, Klementina (Author)

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Introduction: The amount of educational material delivered to pupils and students through digital screens is increasing. This method of delivering educational materials has become even more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. To be as effective as possible, educational material must be properly designed not only in terms of content, but also in terms of form, e.g., the typeface. The present study investigated the effect of letter shape on readers’ feelings of pleasantness during reading, reading fluency, and text comprehension and memorisation. Methods: To find out whether age influences the effects of typeface shape on reading measures, we divided the participants into a group of less experienced readers (children) and more experienced readers (adults). Both groups read texts in eight different typefaces: four of them were round or in rounded shape, and four were angular or in pointed shape. With an eye-tracker, the reading speed and the number of regressive saccades were recorded as measures of reading fluency and changes in pupil size as an indicator of emotional response. After reading each text, the participants rated the pleasantness of the typeface, and their comprehension and memorisation of texts were checked by asking two questions about the text content. Results: We found that compared to angular letters or letters in pointed shape, round letters or letters in round shape created more pleasant feelings for readers and lead to a faster reading speed. Children, as expected, read more slowly due to less reading experiences, but, interestingly, had a similar number of regressive saccades and did not comprehend or remember the text worse than university students. Discussion: We concluded that softer typefaces of rounder shapes should be used in educational materials, as they make the reading process easier and thus support the learning process better for both younger and adult readers. The results of our study also showed that a comparison of findings of different studies may depend on the differences among the used letter shapes.

Keywords:typeface shape, pleasantness, reading fluency, text comprehension, text memorisation, age differences
Work type:Article
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:NTF - Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering
FF - Faculty of Arts
Publication status:Published
Publication version:Version of Record
Number of pages:11 str.
Numbering:Vol. 14, art. 1107839
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-154004 This link opens in a new window
ISSN on article:1664-1078
DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1107839 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:142472451 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:18.01.2024
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Record is a part of a journal

Title:Frontiers in psychology
Shortened title:Front. psychol.
Publisher:Frontiers Media
COBISS.SI-ID:519967513 This link opens in a new window


License:CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Description:This is the standard Creative Commons license that gives others maximum freedom to do what they want with the work as long as they credit the author.

Secondary language

Keywords:oblika pisave, prijetnost, tekočnost branja, razumevanje besedila, pomnjenje besedila, starostna razlika


Funder:ARRS - Slovenian Research Agency
Project number:P5-0110
Name:Psihološki in nevroznanstveni vidiki kognicije

Funder:ARRS - Slovenian Research Agency
Project number:P2-0213
Name:Tekstilije in ekologija

Funder:ARRS - Slovenian Research Agency
Name:Infrastructural Centre RIC UL-NTF

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