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This study asks whether people with different native languages perceive the readability of serif fonts (fonts with finishing off strokes) and sans serif fonts (fonts without finishing off strokes) differently. In addition, because well-controlled research on the readability of serif and sans serif fonts is scarce, this research serves as a conceptual replication of Moret-Tatay & Perea’s (2011) study that suggests that sans serif fonts are the more readable font type. In Experiment 1, native English, native Korean, and native Chinese speakers completed an online English lexical decision task (a word/pseudoword recognition task) in a serif and a sans serif font. In Experiment 2, native English and native Chinese speakers completed the same lexical decision task in a more controlled laboratory setting. I hypothesized that the sans serif font will be the most readable font type across native languages. More specifically, I predicted that native English speakers will benefit from the sans serif font, that native Korean speakers will benefit more from the sans serif font, and that native Chinese speakers will benefit the most from the sans serif font. Results from Experiment 1 showed that words and pseudowords written in a sans serif font were most readable for native English and native Korean speakers (although non-significantly for native English speakers), while words and pseudowords written in a serif font were most readable for native Chinese speakers. Results from Experiment 2 showed no differences in the readability of serif and sans serif fonts across native languages. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
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Eldar, Maayan, "What’s Your Type? Readability of Fonts Across Native and Non-Native English Speakers" (2016). Senior Projects Spring 2016. 6.