From author Nicholas C. Rossis:
The University of Florida recently announced a new book, aimed at giving people guidelines on how to communicate well in writing.
Yellowlees Douglas is an associate professor of management communication at the University of Florida. She wrote The Reader’s Brain: How Neuroscience Can Make You a Better Writer (Cambridge University Press, 2015), drawing on data from eye-tracking, EEG brain scans, and fMRI neuroimaging.
1. Prime Your Readers
“Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them.”
Few of us realize this advice has its roots in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. In recent decades, researchers have discovered that priming is a form of implicit learning. By merely exposing experimental subjects to lists of random words, researchers discovered the earlier exposure triggered accurate recall a day later—even though the subjects were unaware they would be tested later on the list.
When you tell readers your purpose in the first sentences of a memo, email, or proposal, you bolster their ease of comprehension and increase their recall of content later.
2. Use ‘Recency’ to Your Advantage
The last item in the “Tell them” triad refers to what psychologists call recency effects, which influence our ability to remember the last items we read. Recency effects extend to both short-term and long-term memory. Readers remember final sentences in paragraphs, items in lists, and paragraphs in documents more clearly than anything else they read.
Link to the rest at Nicholas C. Rossis and thanks to Suzie for the tip.
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