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back to article Official: Powerpoint bad for brains

Anyone who's been a victim of "death by Powerpoint" - that glazed and distant feeling that overwhelms you when some sales droid starts their presentation - will be reassured by Aussie researchers who've discovered biological reasons for the feeling. Humans just don't like absorbing information verbally and visually at the same …

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Lecturers beware!

So its official is it? Powerpoint makes your brain go to sleep... 5 years of engineering tought me that, its nice to get the Official backup to all those secret student theories.

All we need is another 8 or so studies to indeed confirm the results and then we can look forward to seeing a re-occurance of last years Lecturer strikes. In 2006 it was about pay, in 20XX it will be about actually having to teach your subject instead of reading off of a set of powerpoint slides you created when you were still a phd student trying to break into lecturing and still gave half a toss.

Ahh, good times, good times.

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Anonymous Coward

So..... It's my fault ?

So when some peon makes me nod off during a presentation, it's my fault for having a limited capacity brain?

Couldn't possibly be because the guy is lacking in imagination or is doing it to show off ?

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Bad Powerpoint

Surely someone who reads a powerpoint presentation word for word instead of using Bullet points or Graphical representation of the subject is just really bad at communication/Powerpoint anyway. Theres nothing new there.

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Silver badge

Poor...

I would rewrite the headline thus: "POOR Powerpoint bad for brains". Thouse who just stick what they are going to talk about in PP presentations and then just read their presentation from the overhead should be taken out and shot. Powerpoint is about the presentation of visuals and graphical supporting information- not a replacement cue card system.

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Sacre Bleu!

Glad I'm not in the presentation industry anymore, it's doomed!

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Subtitles

I was raised by deaf parents and now I can't watch TV without turning on subtitles. My japanese fiancé needs them too. But wait... that's words in visual and audio form at the same time!

Isn't the truth actually just that presentations are boring in almost any format?

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Is it just powerpoint

Or does the same apply to Keynote?

My keynote presentations are full of the glamor which is apple, small bursts of text, some pretty pictures and me speaking the IMPORTANT information rather than having it onscreen, if it was all onscreen what would be the point in me being there, I could get a 5 year old to read off a screen, I'm there to show my perspective, understanding and most of all, fill in the gaps to the points which I have highlighted...

Braindead windows monkeys don't know the first thing about public speaking, ask an expert or even better ask jono bacon how to give good presentations.

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M

Is this a joke?

As am Deaf I don't get brain meltdown when I am watching the Sign Language Interpreter, and lip-reading some old fart droning on and reading the PowerPoint....

It must be them "hearing" issue...

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Anonymous Coward

PowerPoint Best Practices

Who needs research to prove this? Look around the room.

Every time I've heard advice about "how to make a good PowerPoint presentation", they advise you not to just read off the slides. Use slides for key words, supporting visuals, examples and animations, but not for the text of the presentation. This isn't news.

It's more than a bit excessive to suggest that PowerPoint should be banned or eradicated or otherwise done away with. Come on! Just teach people how to give good presentations.

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It's the medium, stupid

This is not about Powerpoint or Keynote or whatever, this refers to a certain kind of way people use the medium.

It's like saying television is dumb. Of course the medium of television has inspired a lot of people to produce dumb shows.

So use the medium of presentation in a smarter way. Why put words onto the screen. You can _say_ words. What you cannot say is pictures or numbers.

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Hold on...

Hold on a moment... I think I have a Powerpoint pack somewhere that describes all of this in more detail - let me dig it out...

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This makes no sense

"Humans just don't like absorbing information verbally and visually at the same time"

That'll be why television is such a flop then.

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In the old days...

When I was a lad, it was 'Death by view graph'. But time moves on, I suppose. Previous posters have it spot on; It's how you present, not what you show and tell on screen.

Introduce your point, then, whilst you expound your latest... whatever, press key 'B' (for blank screen) and everyone then looks at you because there is nothing on the screen.

Powerpoint is a wonderful piece of kit. Professor Swellor, et al, should move into the real world of working for a living and stop shining their shorts in the surf. :-)

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Bronze badge

What we need is a summary

We need a summary of the research. Instead of a pdf file why not a power point presentation. Sounds like a good idea to me.

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Distraction?

Perhaps presentations with accompanying pictures don't get through to the audience because some people are easily distracted by seeing glaring mistakes (or total bull) in front of them and switch off.

An example could be the wrong icon/picture accompanying a headline/slide title.

Why put a buzzy-bee pic with a story originating in Australia. The buzzy-bee is a Kiwi (New Zealand icon).

Now, what the heck was that article about again?

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Bad Design

Lets be honest

Making a presentation is a performance

Most people are NOT performers

Good presentations require good design skills and a great script

Its like writing, directing and acting in your own play or film.

Mike the great guy in sales who always fixes the hard to get football tickets, or Tanya the Professor of Bio Mechanics don't have these skills. Frankly if people do, they are just as likely to be up there winning Oscars.

Too many presentations are put together by wonks with a background with large consultancy firms. They are trite and repetitive (books don't have a chapter of contents at the beginning of each new chapter, why keep repeating the contents slide all through the presenbtation). Most of these people have a Tech/B School background, their design skills have never been challenged and most of them did the bare minimum in literature papers as it appeared to be non relevant.

In the real world, amongst the most valuable skills is that of being a good communicator, giving somebody who is not a natural communicator a tool, be it Powerpoint or something similar, does not fix the comminication problem, it agrevates it.

R+C

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For a fictional view...

Charles Stross has a fictional account of a PowerPoint presentation from Hell in his Novel 'The Jennifer Morgue'. Glyphs in slides that work once everyone has been reduced to a state of near oblivion by a sleep inducing presentation... it seemed all to believable (and very funny).

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Boring

I've had quite a few teachers in college who just read from powerpoints and now I know why I get bored.

Basically, if I understand it correctly, your brain can't handle getting the same information at the same time from hearing and visual cues. So if a slide said "Monkeys are animals" and the presenter says "Monkeys are animals," your brain gets confused. Okay, that's probably an oversimplification, but it should get the point across. Powerpoint isn't the only cause, it's any slide presentation app, or actually anything that has visual and audio cues saying the same thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Powerpoint bad for brains

So, maybe this is why Powerpoint is so popular with sales droids? They don't *want* our brains to be working well. Makes us ask those difficult questions, like "why should I buy this piece of cr*p?"

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Anonymous Coward

Presentation is everything...

"My keynote presentations are full of the glamor which is apple, small bursts of text, some pretty pictures and me speaking the IMPORTANT information rather than having it onscreen, if it was all onscreen what would be the point in me being there, I could get a 5 year old to read off a screen, I'm there to show my perspective, understanding and most of all, fill in the gaps to the points which I have highlighted..."

Crikey, did you get a 5 year old to write that too, I nearly suffocated!! I can imagine your presentations would be a laugh!

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