Effects of Visual and Verbal Presentation on Cognitive Load

By August 5, 2015January 31st, 2016Advertising, Communication, Design


We been known to get ideas from scientific research. While looking for inspiration during the process of designing our new website, we came across a paper from Stanford that explained how what we do helps clients communicate with their audience better. Here’s an excerpt:

“Extensive research has shown that having two mental representations for something, notably, both visual and verbal, is better for memory than having one. If one internal representation is lost or corrupted, the other can compensate. People tend to spontaneously name visual stimuli but they don’t spontaneously generate visual images to verbal stimuli, so that visual presentation is more likely to generate two codes than verbal presentation. The existence of two codes could facilitate information processing in addition to augmenting memory. Mental operations like arithmetic are regarded as performed by the articulatory loop. If memory for the stimuli is retained in the visuospatial sketchpad, then the articulatory loop, relieved of memory load, has more capacity for information processing. These findings, if replicated and extended, have broad-ranging implications for education as well as interface design.”

Despite the fact that we had no idea what an articulatory loop is, we got busy writing and visualizing, and Greg drew the illustration above (also on our Home page). Thanks to J. Klinger, P. Hanrahan, and B. Tversky of Stanford University.