Why your Brain Craves Infographics

Infographics are everywhere
but what made them so successful?
This infographic exposes the science behind the boom
The use of visualized information has increased…
in literature[1]
(since 1990)
on the internet[2]
(since 2007)
in newspapers[3]
(between 1985 & 1994)
This is because we are
‘visually wired’
of your brain
is involved in
visual processing[5]
of all your
sensory receptors
are in your eyes[4]
we can get
the sense of a
in less than
1/10 of a second[6]
It only takes us 150ms for a symbol to be processed + 100ms to attach a meaning to it[7, 8]
Infographics help because
we suffer from information overload:
We receive
as much information
today as we did
in 1986.[9]
34 gigabytes
or 100,500 words
– the amount of information
we consume outside of work
on an average day.[10]
On average
users only read
of words per visit.[11]
Researchers found that colour visuals increase the willingness to read by 80%.[12]
Infographics counter information overload because...
They're more engaging
More accessible:
A study found that when it comes to comprehension rates of medicine labels:
rate of understanding for labels with text only[13]
rate of understanding for labels with text and pictures
People following directions with text and illustrations do
323% better
than people following directions without illustrations.[14]
More persuasive:
A study conducted at the Wharton School of Business found that:
50% of the audience were persuaded by a purely verbal presentation
67% of the audience were persuaded by the verbal presentation that had accompanying visuals[15]
Adding pictures of brain scans and mentioning cognitive neuroscience make people more inclined to believe what they are reading[16]
Easier to recall[17]
People remember:
Infographics are
After all, you've been reading this for
It's no wonder that infographics have been so successful.

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1 Google Ngram Viewer.
2 Google Trends.
3 Zacks, J., Levy, E., Tversky, B., Schinao, D. (2002). Graphs in Print, Diagrammatic Representation and Reasoning, London: Springer-Verlag.
4 Merieb, E. N. & Hoehn, K. (2007). Human Anatomy & Physiology 7th Edition, Pearson International Edition.
5 Merieb, E. N. & Hoehn, K. (2007). Human Anatomy & Physiology 7th Edition, Pearson International Edition.
6 Semetko, H. & Scammell, M. (2012). The SAGE Handbook of Political Communication, SAGE Publications.
7 Thorpe, S., Fize, D. & Marlot, C. (1996). Speed of processing in the human visual system, Nature, Vol 381.
8 Holcomb, P. & Grainger, J. (2006). On the Time Course of Visual Word Recognition, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol 18.
9 Alleyne, R. (11 Feb 2011). Welcome to the information age – 174 newspapers a day. The Telegraph.
10 Bohn, R. & Short, J. (2012). Measuring Consumer Information, International Journal of Communication, Vol 6.
11 Nielsen, J. (2008). How Little Do Users Read?
12 Green, R. (1989). The Persuasive Properties of Color, Marketing Communications.
13 Dowse, R. & Ehlers, M. (2005). Medicine labels incorporating pictograms: Do they influence understanding and adherence?, Patient Education and Counseling, Vol 58, Issue 1.
14 Levie, W. J. & Lentz, R. (1982). Effects of text illustrations: A review of research, Educational Communication and Technology.
15 Wharton School of Business. ‘Effectiveness of Visual Language’.
16 McCabe, D. & Castel, A. (2008). Seeing is believing: The effect of brain images on judgments of scientific reasoning, Cognition 107.
17 Lester, P. M. (2006). Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication.