When visual neural signals arrive in the brain, they are processed first by the sensory memory. This happens automatically and unconsciously—it takes less than half a second. If the sensory memory determines a piece of information to be interesting, it is passed to the working memory.
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Otherwise, it is discarded. The working memory also called the short-term memory is where active thinking occurs. This part of the memory can juggle a few items at once and retain information for up to 60 seconds.
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The long-term memory is where all of our knowledge, skills, and past experiences are held for later use. Some information is unconsciously stored in the long-term memory, and other things we remember deliberately. The complete remembering process is, of course, much more complex than we can explain here.
This vast repository helps us recognize patterns and familiar images, and thus can speed up our perception. The real power of perception, however, is the sensory memory. Without it, we would have to consciously process everything we see or hear, taste, smell, or touch in our working memory. Remember, the working memory has a limited capacity and duration.
This burden would be enormous and overwhelming. In other words, we can detect movement or spot differences before our working memory consciously processes it. Not convinced? All you have to do is count the number of sixes in the box below:. Because all the numbers are uniformly sized and colored, we have to process each number individually to identify the sixes.
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But if we apply the preattentive attributes of color and width, the game changes. Count the sixes in this second box:. You likely noticed that you were able to count the sixes much faster that time. This is because your brain used hardwired shortcuts to rapidly distinguish the sixes from other numbers. When you know how our brains want to process information, you can make better charts, graphs, and other visualizations. Scientists have identified nearly forty types of visual attributes that your brain processes unconsciously.
But the ones that are fall into two groups: categorical or qualitative and quantitative. In charts, categorical preattentive attributes help us differentiate categories, portions, data sets, etc.
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Check out how categorical attributes can be used in charts with the table below:. Your sensory memory handles one attribute well, but when it has to deal with many attributes at once, your working memory has to pick up the slack.
Quantitative attributes help us see and understand quantities. However, our brains are wired to do that so well that length-based charts can easily distort our understanding. For example, look at the following two charts:. These two graphs are actually showing the same data, but the first chart makes the difference appear much greater—just take a look at the y-axis. It makes the change almost invisible! There is an easy solution. When large numbers render your column charts useless, you have limited space to work with, or you need to home in on the finer details, a line chart with an adjusted axis is an appropriate fix, as shown below:.
Some attributes can also be used to emphasize important values. Typically, any change from the norm will grab our attention.
Shane Krider's Mind Power
Learn tips, tricks and strategies to tap into the elusive power of your mind to begin to create the experiences and enjoy the abundant results that you desire. Read Less. Success and happiness can be elusive. Sometimes they can seem a million miles away. But in reality, success and happiness are always only two words away. This week on Mind Power Rach and I are wrapping up our first season with maybe our most powerful conversation so far.
Image This topic is simple, underestimated and chalked up as a cliche by most. Cliche or not, its a game changer and you can put it to use right now. The reason I love personal development and the reason I have been talking about it every chance I get since is because of how quickly your life can change when your mindset changes. A degree shift in mindset brings an instantaneous degree change in results and the way you experience life.
Join us this week for our final Mind Power season one episode and allow us to say thank you to you for helping to make our first season such an amazing success! We will see you all again for season two in July in our new time slot and broadcasting from our new house in beautiful Phuket Thailand! Thank you, Shane Krider.