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Why Pictures are Key to Boosting Retention: The Science Behind Visual Learning

Written and illustrated by Mandy Johnson

A group of people looking at a selection of drawings on a wall. Above them is the caption "a picture is worth a thousand words!

We live in a world that's constantly bombarded with information. Whether it's scrolling through social media or reading a news article, we're constantly processing new information. But with so much information coming at us, it can be challenging to remember it all. That's where pictures come in.


Pictures can help increase retention and make information easier to remember. In this blog post, we'll explore how pictures can help increase retention and provide tips on how to use them effectively.


1. Visuals are easier to remember



Smiling woman pointing at her head with thought bubbles coming out of it

The human brain is wired to remember visual information more easily than text. In fact, research has shown that people remember 80% of what they see, compared to only 20% of what they read. When we see an image, our brain processes it more quickly and efficiently than text. This makes it easier for us to remember what we saw.


2. Pictures help with comprehension

Illustration of a cartoon brain, wearing glasses and smiling

Pictures can also help with comprehension. When we see an image, it can provide context and make it easier to understand the information being presented. For example, if you're reading a news article about a scientific discovery, a picture of the discovery can help you better understand what it looks like and how it works.


3. Visuals increase engagement


Five thumbs up - illustrated in abstract colours

Using pictures in your content can also increase engagement. Studies have shown that people are more likely to engage with content that includes visuals. When we see an image, it captures our attention and makes us more interested in what we're reading. This can lead to increased engagement and better retention of the information being presented.


4. Images can create emotional connections

Two hands around a heart - one above and one below

Pictures can also create emotional connections. When we see an image that resonates with us, it can evoke emotions and help us remember the information being presented. For example, if you're trying to sell a product, a picture of a happy customer using the product can create a positive emotional connection and make it more likely that someone will remember your product.


Finally, pictures can help with storytelling. When we see an image, it can help us visualize the story being told. This makes it easier to remember the story and the information being presented. For example, if you're giving a presentation, using images to illustrate your points can make your presentation more engaging and help your audience remember the information.


Tips for using pictures effectively:


- Use high-quality images that are relevant to your content.

- Use images to illustrate your points and make them easier to understand.

- Use images to create emotional connections and engage your audience.

- Use images to tell a story and make your content more memorable.

- Don't overuse images. Use them strategically to enhance your content, not distract from it.


In conclusion, pictures can be a powerful tool for increasing retention and engagement. When used effectively, pictures can help us remember information more easily, understand complex concepts, and create emotional connections. By incorporating pictures into your content, you can make it more engaging and memorable for your audience.

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