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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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Egads, this writing manual has a PowerPoint section and this is the GOOD example http://t.co/K1ND0nV1jH

RT @ImADataGuy: Anyone else see something wrong with this? #datavisualization @evergreendata Good cause, bad math http://t.co/wcQMJS87QE

2 of the worst fonts, combined into 1 http://t.co/5YH662i8xP

@clysy @laurabeals @SheilaBRobinson @AnnKEmery this http://t.co/CAVld759Ej also handouts are going to be discussed on the podcast soon!

RT @LegoAcademics: Green initiative: Dr Black has only used recycled presentation slides for the past 3 years. http://t.co/MqzxL5xjWc

@seanlahman how do you find the time?

RT @leeclowsbeard: If your PowerPoint presentation also works as a leave behind, you’re doing both wrong.

Missed flight = sketching my 2014 personal annual report on the only paper available (my spare workshop handout) http://t.co/fQZg0gj3fa

I'm suddenly amazingly sleepy.