Americans exposed to images every single day. With millions of people owning smartphones, checking social media apps where we share our pictures is part of the daily routine. On average, we check our phones 46 times a day. This number continues to grow with people between 18 and 24 years old, who check their phones 74 times a day on average. This trend does not show any signs of slowing, and it may be affecting our memory.
A new Harvard University study suggests that overexposure to images can cause us to misremember events. Professor Daniel Schacter says, “photographs have the potential to distort memory.” He uses an example of someone looking over their family Christmas pictures on Facebook. This person sees all the smiling faces from these photos and may think to themselves, “That was a great Christmas!” But they are forgetting that argument they had with their parents after dinner, or how sick they felt the next day after they had too much to drink. This experience is called “retrieval-induced forgetting.”
The study explains another impact caused by memory and images related to how we take in news. During a conversation, have you ever cited a news article but could not remember what the news source was? Professor Schacter says the large amount of news articles we share on our news feed, it’s easy for our brain to forget where it originally came from. This makes us more susceptible to believing fake news headlines that appear on our newsfeed.
Images hold impact. Photographs can cause us to misremember an experience that we did not participate it. The timeline of events in our life can become as two dimensional as the pictures we post online. On the other hand, images can make our presentations memorable and poignant. You can use an image to elevate your presentation message and inspire your audience.
A great presentation contains great imagery, among other things. Here are a few examples of how to incorporate impactful presentation imagery that will affect your audience’s memory.
Photos of familiar smiling faces can help an audience feel connected to your presentation. If you are promoting a service to a target audience, use images that resemble that group. This will help your presentation viewers visualize themselves using your service.
Images for measurable data can have a greater effect on an audience. Use images that relate to your presentation topic to reveal interesting data. If you are talking about the increase in housing costs, show houses getting bigger and bigger as the number goes up. This visual will spark a greater interest for the audience.
If you are not a huge fan of stock photography, illustrations are a creative alternative. Illustrations will give your presentation a unique style and tone. You can push your creativity by creating characters, using metaphors, and visualizing data. The best part about illustrations is that you have full creative control. You pick the colors and art direction of the entire presentations. Just be mindful that this process is time consuming.
The effect images have on our memory will be studied for years to come as technology advances. What we know now is how big an impact images already have. Utilize this in your next project by including impactful presentation imagery.
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