The cognitive science behind video is an important aspect of our work. We’ve developed an effective method to communicate our clients’ message to their viewer. This process maximizes the viewers’ understanding and helps them retain important information in the future.

#1: The Power of Simple Storytelling

One of the most important aspects of an explainer video is telling a simple story that’s easy to understand. The reason is that viewers use working memory to make meaning out of what they’re seeing and hearing. Working memory allows us to process and understand everything that is happening in the present. It also interacts with long-term memory, so working memory has a big job.

At any given time we can only process and retain so much information. Our brains are like watertight vessels with a limited amount of space, and new information is like a jug of water. We take the new information and pour it into our working memory. If there’s more information than our working memory can handle, it overflows meaning we can’t retain the entire message.

Many Companies have complex stories to tell, but the key is to tell them in a simple way that customers can understand in a short period of time.

#2: Connecting with People’s Prior Knowledge

The next step is connecting with people’s prior knowledge. One of the best ways to communicate a message is to connect it to something people already know.

Let’s say, for example, that you started a website to help people find other dogs for their dog to play with. Yes, it’s a simple example, but it’s helpful.

You could go into detail about how beneficial it is for dogs to play with other dogs and how your service helps to find the best playmate for pets, but it would be even easier to understand if you can make a comparison with something they already know. For example, you could say your site is like an eHarmony for dogs. Immediately, people would understand the concept behind what you do. You’ve essentially cut your story down to a sentence or two.

Metaphors distill a lot of information and make it easier for viewers to connect what’s being spoken with prior knowledge. Once you’ve made this link, the easier it becomes for people to remember your message later.

That’s why here at Switch Video we spend time coming up with the right metaphors for our videos. They’re powerful. They distill complex stories into one or two sentences and connect concepts with people’s prior knowledge, making the story easier to understand and remember.

#3: Stimulate both auditory and visual senses

Last but not least comes auditory and visual stimulation. Cognitive science shows that people retain 58% more information when both senses are stimulated. This, in short, is why explainer videos are so effective.

Studies show that when you only stimulate the auditory sense people retain just 10% of the information, but when you stimulate both senses, people retain 68%. That’s a 58% increase in retention and it is explained by dual-coding theory.

The dual-coding theory refers to what happens when you receive information both verbally and visually. Information you receive verbally is coded one way, and information received visually is coded in another. When combined together, we retain the most of what we’ve been told. More information can be stored because the information presented is more holistic.

This is why animated video is so effective. A talking head only stimulates verbal senses, but an explainer video with animations and a voiceover stimulates both senses.

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