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Top Ten
sam_churchill, Flickr

Top 10 lists used to be the domain of David Letterman and the FBI’s Most Wanted, but they’re now popping up on the internet with the frequency of Subway restaurants on street corners. There are so many lists, in fact, there’s a whole website dedicated to it.

What’s behind this trend? So glad you asked.

As you might imagine, there’s a top 10 list to explain the phenomenon called, appropriately enough, 10 Reasons We Are Seeing An Excess of Lists of 10 Things We Should Know.

The number one reason cited is, people don’t have as much time to read as they did in the past. Learning upfront there will only be 10 items to process means we’ll be able to return our attention to other important matters. In these times, that means more watching funny videos on YouTube or sending text messages to friends.

A more scientific reason came in at number two: 10 is a good number for our working memory. As a result, we won’t be overloaded with info, even if we fail to recall all the items in the lists we read. Makes sense, right? This will probably make more sense if you can’t remember the number one reason we just passed onto you.

So, whether it’s a list of top 10 dogs for kids, 10 best places to eat bacon or 10 reasons croquet is better than golf, you can be sure these unscientific rankings probing the key issues of present-day society exist.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to re-post this piece as 10 reasons you should read this article.


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