Our Brain Processes Visuals 60000 Times Faster than Text

Our Brain Processes Visuals 60000 Times Faster than Text

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Our Brain Processes Visuals 60000 Times Faster than Text

60000 times faster?!

I’ve seen this statistic thrown around quite a bit in the context of using visuals to communicate. It’s powerful. Heck, I even used it as a coaster freebie at an Expo I filmed. But does the stat carry any weight? (And am I a hypocrite?) Most point to this 3M brochure as their reference. Yet, to dig any further into the details of this study would require hiring a private investigator. I think this blog summed it up the best.

Research aside, how does 60000 times faster play out practically? I think it abides more to concepts or products people have a difficult time grasping. For instance, if I had never heard of a soccer ball or knew what purpose it served, how would you describe it?

“It’s a round, white ball with black pentagons distributed evenly throughout, used in a competitive sports game.”

Granted, you’d have to assume that I comprehended all those little details (I understand what a ball is, what a pentagon looks like, etc) so I can attach my current knowledge and understanding to a new idea. Let’s say, hypothetically, it took you one minute to fully grasp that written concept. Mathematically (don’t worry, I cringe at the sight of that word too), it should only take 0.001 seconds, or a thousandth of a second, to grasp the same concept if I showed a visual…like this one!

Grasp this 60000 times faster?

Fun Fact: I totally photoshopped that soccer ball for my own selfish purposes.

Did you grasp that in a thousandth of a second flat? Tough to say, it probably registered as quickly as I had glanced at it but, nonetheless, much quicker than saying all 28 of those syllables in the description. Even then, we’ve all probably been exposed to the game of soccer in some shape or form so there’s a flaw in already being familiar with it.

What if we took a concept few of us were familiar with – like DNA replication? Uh buh…

Although you may still not understand the idea completely, at the very least, you have names to attach to objects.

Images help but this one still flew over my head.

Although I took biology, once upon a time – I can’t think of a short/simple way to describe the idea. However, when you put an image to a complicated subject, the idea resonates a little deeper. I still don’t completely understand it but, at the very least, I now have names to attach to objects and that’s miles ahead of describing the “helicase unwinding the double-stranded DNA.” 60000 times faster may or may not be true in this instance but I feel more comfortable seeing the concept than attempting to fathom it from text. What if we were to see the concept in motion?

Hey, that was actually somewhat enjoyable. Video rocks =). Considering that I knew next to nothing in regards to DNA replication, I now have some sort of grasp on it. The speed of knowledge may be debatable but it’s certainly faster.

The bottom line, our miles per hour likely vary on the “60000 times faster” scale but the concept is there. In general, we certainly process images faster than text. It’s especially true for concepts we’ve never been introduced to because it’s easier for us connote ideas to images. Video is a means for getting there even more quickly.

2016-11-03T09:06:30+00:00 By |Blog, Myth or Truth?|0 Comments

About the Author:

After graduating from San Diego State University's film program in 2010, I worked in a warehouse full-time. Realizing that this wouldn't flex my creativity, I eventually got the guts to go off on my own venture, creating Up and Running Video in 2014 because of my love for crafting stories through video. My goal is to bring this fervor to each and every project I contribute to.

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