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What Remains In Mind? Effectiveness And Efficiency Of Explainers At Conveying Information

Pascal Schneiders

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Whether and to what extent mass media contribute to the acquisition of knowledge depends fundamentally on the senses addressed by a particular medium. However, there is a lack of current research investigating the effectiveness and efficiency of (new) media, like scrollytelling and explainer videos, at conveying information, compared to established formats like text and audio. To fill this research gap, I conducted an experimental online survey (N = 381) with medium as the independent variable (explainer text vs. audio vs. video vs. scrollytelling) and the recall of information as the dependent variable. The subjects were presented with a popular scientific presentation on the environmental consequences of meat consumption in order to examine a socially relevant, controversial topic and to explore the possible consequences of dissonance on recalling information. As the present study demonstrates, the traditionally lower reputation of moving images in regard to the effectiveness of information transfer is not always justified. Rather, the results show that scrollytelling and video lead to a significantly more extensive recall than audio and in part text media. However, when considering exposure time, text turns out to be the most efficient medium. The dissonance perceived by the participants did not have any significant influence on their recall of information.