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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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@albertocairo I've lately been seeing change rate plotted on 2 y-axes, too!

Please stop making graphs with 2 y-axes. Here are some alternatives. https://t.co/QdHY7mpM4U https://t.co/RjnJn5jNJ3

New Post: 2 Alternatives to Using a 2nd Y Axis https://t.co/QdHY7mpM4U https://t.co/6bxuw8q4yL

The #DataViz Checklist is now in French (or "sans faux pas") https://t.co/h4CtnA6R2I

@chadskelton Share your reading list when you're done?

adorable kids book on #dataviz - Kickstarter campaign incentives include a lunchbox! https://t.co/L118P5RA0f

RT @dr_tindall: When a student tells you that they LOVE comic sans font and want to use it in their final report https://t.co/Spv9HbJPsc

Chart Chooser cards Kickstarter ends tomorrow. Can't wait to distribute this sweet infographic to contributors!… https://t.co/WFfyH8juTe

The polar extremes! https://t.co/pP8GrIIp7e

@LizTweets it looks like kindergartner leggings