Blog

Your Brain on Slideshows

Your Brain on Slideshows

Here’s what happens to audience brains when presenters speak while showing text-heavy slides. Their working memory gets overloaded.

Working memory is that part of the cognition system where we contemplate information, wrangle with it, try to digest it. But working memory has limits on its cognitive load. It can only handle so much (not much, as it turns out).

Want to see for yourself? Try this little game. While it isn’t the same as sitting in a text-heavy presentation, it recreates a similar environment where our brains are trying to keep track of too many things at once.

My best scores were better than the average – and that’s the danger. Some of us *think* we’re really good at multitasking when we really aren’t doing any of the tasks too well. Here a couple of strategies for reducing the cognitive overload that comes with text-heavy slides.

We’ll talk about this and more practical steps for improving slideshows in my webinar, Nontoxic Slideshows, this Friday at noon EDT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

I present at some of the most interesting places. http://t.co/GoYPBrsonW

@Trina_Willard @AnnKEmery we do have room left! Would love to see you!

RT @GoodwineTidbits: “@FastCompany: Apple's first major typeface in 20 years is now available for public consumption: http://t.co/TB4lYnhnR…

@usefuleval @AnnKEmery nature is coooool!

@visualisingdata maybe PowerPoint MVP @daveparadi knows why?

@usefuleval @AnnKEmery @ViaEvaluation I thought this was going to be a scatterplot, snowfall x drinks consumed.

@visualisingdata This happened to me the other day. All my pics gone. After I died, I resurrected myself & asked WTF? Really, what happened?

RT @ann_gero: Nice! @evergreendata: New post: Visualizing Likert-type Data with Aggregated Stacked Bars http://t.co/UOjybl3Nx5 #dataviz