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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.

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RT @anthkris: Reminder to create good handounts: Stop Asking if the Slides are Available via @evergreendata http://t.co/FAWuBGhjxp http://t…

@heather_jewell I'll use my superhero powers to propel it forward.

Looking forward to talking #dataviz with @2CollegeNetwork today!

RT @AndySteer: Good point very well made by @evergreendata >> Stop Asking if the Slides are Available (via @Pocket) - http://t.co/BOXCzJ48k4

RT @jessybeames: "Slides should be a speaker’s visual support, not a replacement" + Handouts = YES @evergreendata http://t.co/1tuggEAFtL

@kylehawkey look at that! Can I virtually sign somehow?

RT @ecgrim: Why I've started creating handouts w/ presentations. MT @evergreendata: Stop Asking if the Slides are Available - http://t.co/z…

RT @KateDMcConnell: VT peeps: @evergreendata is coming! 3 wkshps, 1 day. March 20th. Registration needed for Excel Ninja session via NLI. @…

@tweetvandijk @crecsky @KimberMcKinley Use them! You just don't have to distribute them. :)