Study on the science of PowerPoint comprehension?
February 8, 2008 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone point me to the study in which the main takeaway was, "Don't just read the text off of your powerpoint slides because it hurts audience comprehension"?

I remember reading a study about a year ago that talked about the way people comprehend information. Thre was a lot about multisensory, but there was a section specifically in regard to powerpoint presentations. The implication was that people who just write out their talking notes on slides were shooting themselves in the foot.

Doing a google search for it now brings up a lot of opinion pieces, powerpoint how-tos, etc. and I can't seem to wade through it all to find this piece.

Anyone remember it or have better google-fu than I?
posted by Gucky to Work & Money (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like something that may have been covered in one of the Manager Tools podcasts or forums. I've heard it, too, though I can't pinpoint exactly where.
posted by Ostara at 11:42 AM on February 8, 2008

You may be thinking about Edward Tufte powerpoint discussion, well worth reading. You can buy it here, and I commend it to your attention if you make presentations often. Much of the same material is scatter in the threads found here.
posted by shothotbot at 11:48 AM on February 8, 2008

Rich Mayer does a lot of PPT research.
posted by k8t at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2008

Seconding probably Tufte, have all 4 of his books and ....
You probably want "Powerpoint is evil" as your google search.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:10 PM on February 8, 2008

When I read the question, I thought about this.
posted by ddaavviidd at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Larry Lessig's ppt method is considered state of the art.

Interview: "The tool makes it too easy to hide reasoning. The viewer is less critical and less engaged. Less is communicated."
posted by bru at 1:09 PM on February 8, 2008

Best answer: Is it this one? "It is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you in the
written and spoken form at the same time... the research shows the human
brain processes and retains more information if it is digested in either its
verbal or written form, but not both at the same time."
posted by daisyace at 3:19 PM on February 8, 2008

Rethinking the design of presentation slides is a bonanza of various PowerPoint design resources, both technical and accessible.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:57 PM on February 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This is all great stuff, but daisyace, you got me right in the direction of what I was looking for.

I've seen the Tufte stuff, but it just seems to be "powerpoint=bad" not "there's a right way and a wrong way to powerpoint."
posted by Gucky at 7:25 PM on February 8, 2008

I've seen the Tufte stuff, but it just seems to be "powerpoint=bad" not "there's a right way and a wrong way to powerpoint."

I would have said "Powerpoint encourages sloppy thinking and sloppy thinking=bad"
posted by shothotbot at 5:59 AM on February 9, 2008

incredibly late to the party here, but no-one has linked to this comment on a previous askme discussion... as a result of Taken Outtacontext's later post in that thread, I bought beyond bullet points, which also underlines this point several times over
posted by unless I'm very much mistaken at 6:30 AM on February 11, 2008

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