Bringing back the picture book

September 16, 2013

If information is presented orally, people remember about 10 percent, when tested 72 hours later. That figure jumps to 65% if pictures are added.[1] Unsurprising news when you think from an evolutionary standpoint of how recently text has been a part of our processing of information. Findings from two University of Cambridge studies showed that combining visuals with text increased learning by 23% and 89%, respectively, over information where visuals and text were separate.[2]

There is a name for this – dual coding theory. When visual information streams in alongside verbal information, the brain’s ability to encode it to long-term memory is enhanced. Pairing pictures with words results in ideas that stick. The deeper the meaning assigned to the information, the deeper it will be stored in the brain’s memory.

Check out the slideshow on Basel Action Network’s homepage, featuring powerful photos of e-waste. The children are the victims at the end of the waste disposal chain in far-flung places like Gulyu, China and Lagos, Nigeria. Text overlay makes images more memorable, shareable, and compelling.

The power of pictures lies in successfully integrating them with your verbal stories. We’re bringing the picture book back – visuals and words combined together in a perfect storytelling package that always has the kids begging for “one more.”

Liz Banse

[1] Medina, John. Brain Rules. Seattle: Pear Press. 2008. P. 234.

[2] Mayer, Richard E. 2001. Multimedia Learning, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.