A Fresh Look at Fresh Memes, Rachel Myers, UG '22 (2256114)
Summary: This presentation discusses the definition of a meme and examines how memes have evolved over time to become a form of communication that is complex and unique in several ways. It is argued that the understanding of meme use and its influence on language processing should be explored in order to better understand human communication. Abstract: Children today are growing up with the internet at their fingertips. They are exposed to many new forms of information, including memes. Memes are a new way of communicating and sharing information. Through things like unique use of analogy, the fluency effect, and multimodal communication, memes allow children to develop the ability to take a combination of stimuli and find the connection between them almost instantly. What remains to be seen, however, is whether or not this ability is exclusive to people raised using the internet. Using previous research on language learning and processing, this study hopes to investigate differences in analogical thinking and meme interpretation across age groups. It is hypothesized that younger age groups will exhibit better analogical thinking abilities and a higher aptitude for understanding new meme content compared to older generations who did not grow up using the internet. Through better understanding of how memes influence communication and information processing, we can begin to better understand how humans learn language and uncover new ways to teach analogical and critical thinking skills.