Numbers Don't Lie

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Does a picture worth 1,000 words ?

People remember pictures more readily than remember words. This is because our brains short-term memory for line drawings was superior to memory for printed words. Who doesn't know the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" ?
In an recent experiment, volunteer participants were asked to recall as many of the words as possible on some pictures or printed words they just saw. The experiment was repeated until the list of 54 words (simple nouns like "baby," "whale," and "handcuffs") had each been used (embedded) in picture and print form. As expected, pictures were correctly recalled more often than printed words, but only by 1.5 times more. Thus, technically, a picture may in fact only be worth about 1.5 words, not 1,000.
Source: Memory & Cognition, 33(3), 499-513, 2005.

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3 Comments:

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Blogger A Thing of Beauty said...

I worry that your reasoning is faulty.
Or perhaps we just have different definitions for the word 'worth.'

Consider this: A Jackson Pollack painting was recently sold at auction for $140 million.

Sounds to me that depending upon which picture you are talking about, it could be worth much more than a thousand words.

12:54 PM

 
Blogger Renegade said...

I agree with your logic, it sounds reasonable.

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12:58 PM

 

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