Science of Visual Storytelling
On the surface, explainer videos may seem simply like visual expressions through the artful presentation, but we want to delve a bit deeper. In this entry, we’re geeking out a bit by pulling back the curtain on the science behind what we do.
If you’re a regular viewer of our videos, you’ll notice the frequent pairing of visuals that correspond with the words you’re hearing. This decision is by design as it stimulates the working memory. By including simultaneous visual and auditory stimulation, we’re helping viewers process and retain the information being presented. Bear with us for a moment: the working memory consists of a visuospatial sketchpad and an articulatory-phonological loop and together, they’re regulated by a central executive. Mind-bending stuff, right? Think of it like air traffic control with the cargo of each landing plane containing sensory data. When you recall that data – an image or a sound – you’re channeling the working memory. And by triggering the inner eye and inner ear, we’re strengthening that muscle.
A study proving this approach shows that 72 hours after reading or hearing something, you’ll recall just 10% of it. Following the same timeframe after seeing and hearing something (as in our explainer videos), you’ll recall 58% of it. If you only recall 10% of this blog post, let it be that fact.
Another way in which we exercise the working memory through explainer videos is by embracing the KISS (“Keep it Simple Silly”) method. It boils down to this: the simpler the message, the more likely it is to be remembered. We know that our clients are multi-faceted and the products and services they deliver can be complex. We challenge you to think about how you can distill your message and offer down to a few simple key points or statements. Our experts will help guide you towards simplifying your message as well so that it translates successfully using strong visuals and relatable language, thus giving the working memory a better chance of retention.
Brain science also intertwines with visual storytelling as it relates to emotions. Our brain processes emotions through automatic reactions, consisting of mirror neurons firing. These neurons have us literally mirroring the emotions we’re observing, regardless of whether we’re partaking in the experience in real life, or as viewers of on-screen content.
According to Psychologist Liraz Margalit, “our brains mirror what’s unfolding before us as if we were part of the scene, even if we are just passively on the sidelines”. This explains why videos are so effective at getting an audience to feel something and why we sometimes get emotional when watching videos (hands up if you’ve ever gotten misty-eyed during Super Bowl commercials).
Generating an empathetic connection through a screen with your viewer is much more effective via video, rather than written text or spoken word. To seal the emotional deal, our brains release dopamine when we’re engaged in emotionally meaningful content. Dopamine is the “feel-good” hormone, responsible for motivation, concentration, and euphoria. But did you also know that dopamine encourages curiosity and enhances memory? It’s just one more reason to include an emotional component in your storytelling.
The human brain is anything but simple. Psychology shows us that there are ways to tap into the different lobes of the brain, depending on the objective. When you consider that our brains are capable of storing an average of 2.5 million GB of data (more than all of your smart devices combined!), it makes sense that the videos Switch creates are designed intentionally to claim some space on your grey matter’s hard drive.
While our signature storytelling methods remain top-secret, we can reveal that it consists of ways to respect the working memory and evoke emotion through sophisticated yet simple storytelling.