The picture superiority effect is a principle—demonstrated by scientific research—according to which images are more likely to be remembered than words. Vision trumps all other senses, says Dr. John Medina in Brain Rules.
You can see the picture superiority effect in different areas. For example:
- In marketing communications - Most billboards combine an image and a small amount of text because they have to capture people’s attention in a matter of seconds.
- In social media - A Facebook post that includes an image normally gets more shares.
You can apply this principle in presentations as well (keeping in mind the law of comic strips: text and image should reinforce the same message). This means that you have to avoid creating text-heavy presentations because they are not only less effective than visual presentations—they are much less effective. If you present with slides full of text, three days after your presentation your listeners will remember not more than 10% of what you said. If you present the same information using a combination of pictures and words, in the following seventy-two hours your listeners will recall up to 65% of what you said. The reason is based on science: the written text is processed in the same part of the brain that processes the spoken text, while images are processed in a different part of the brain. That’s why people can’t read and listen at the same time while they can easily process information presented as a combination of images and (not so much) text.
If you want to learn more about how to make better presentations, download my report Top 7 Mistakes People Make When Creating Business Presentations.