Quizzing in Email: An Innovation in the Inbox (Part 3)

Backgrounder – 2

In a 2000 column, Amelia Hill explained our love of quizzes. A short answer: “Because they fulfil a need for knowledge in society and they’re fun.” 98thpercentile adds: “Quizzes are a great way to have fun, but they can also be used as a tool for self-improvement. They can help you learn more about yourself and how others view you.” With the internet, quizzes have moved online. In a 2014 article, Wired wrote: “The reason quizzes have proliferated, of course, is the same reason they have any social relevance at all: We share our results with each other. As quizzes have become a lucrative option for online publishers, they’ve also a signifier of self, as indicative of who we are as the profile pictures we choose, the music we publicly listen to on Spotify, or even what kind of bath towels we just bought on Amazon. The fun isn’t taking the quiz—it’s showing the result to others.” The article quotes Sherry Turkle: “[Quizzes are] specifically for performance. Here, part of the point is to share it, to feel ‘who you are’ by how you share who you are. [It’s] the conflation of who you are and who thinks you’re okay.”

To a specific question on the problems that quizzes solve in our lives, here is the answer I got from ChatGPT:

  1. Education: Quizzes can be used to assess students’ knowledge and understanding of a particular subject or topic. They can also be used to test students’ retention of information and as a tool to improve learning.
  2. Entertainment: Quizzes can be used as a form of entertainment, whether in a live setting or on a television or online show. They can be used to engage audiences and create a sense of competition.
  3. Recruitment and selection: Quizzes can be used to assess the knowledge and skills of job candidates. They can also be used to test the cognitive abilities, logical reasoning and problem-solving skills and personality traits.
  4. Marketing and advertising: Quizzes can be used as a marketing tool to generate leads and engage with potential customers. They can also be used to promote a brand or product.
  5. Knowledge assessment: Quizzes can be used to test people’s knowledge on different topics, whether in a formal or informal context. They can also be used to identify areas for improvement and to provide feedback to the quiz takers.
  6. Memory retention: Quizzes can be used to test people’s memory retention and can help them to recall important information.

A Scientific American article from 2015 uses research to show that frequent tests can boost learning: “According to [Jeffrey] Karpicke, a professor of cognitive psychology at Purdue University, retrieving is the principal way learning happens. “Recalling information we’ve already stored in memory is a more powerful learning event than storing that information in the first place,” he says. “Retrieval is ultimately the process that makes new memories stick.” Not only does retrieval practice help students remember the specific information they retrieved, it also improves retention for related information that was not directly tested. Researchers theorize that while sifting through our mind for the particular piece of information we are trying to recollect, we call up associated memories and in so doing strengthen them as well.”

Quizzes have had some part in our lives – and for some, they probably still do. They educate and entertain, are teaching and learning moments, bring social recognition, and work as filters in recruitment. How can we bring them into our inboxes daily – to fill life’s empty moments and also the know-now ones?

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

Leave a Reply