The concept of figuring out the psychology behind effective presentations is not new.
Even before 1800 when Old Master paintings were being created, artists had the skill to control the movement of the eye of the beholder. They would bring it to a focal point of the canvas and then move it from point to point. They knew how to grab people’s attention immediately with the subtle use of lines and colors.
Since the 1980s, an increasing number of effective presenters have looked to science to help them figure out the psychology of landing their message.
Significant insights came from a milestone 1986 study sponsored by 3M and headed by D.R. Vogel, G.W. Dickson and J.A. Lehman at the University of Minnesota.
The researchers concluded that people who use visual aids are 43 percent more persuasive than those who don’t. They determined that visuals can also improve communication effectiveness, the students’ perception of the presenter and the speaker’s confidence.
Furthermore, the study concluded that if black-and-white visuals were replaced with colorful ones, attention and retention of the presentation’s key message increased even more.