10 May 2012

For emotional impact, go big

A new paper on type size supports what headline writes have apparently known for ages.

Bigger text gets bigger reactions.

ResearchBlogging.orgThe work by Bayer and colleagues used electroencephalograph (EEG) recordings to study the response of people as they showed them words that tended to be associated with good emotions, bad ones, or that were emotionally neutral. They found that the bigger the text, the faster someone responded emotionally to the word, and the longer they responded.

At least, that’s the authors’ interpretation. One thing about this study is that, as far as I can see, they didn’t ask their subjects directly, “So, how are you feeling?”

If you have any words on your poster that you want to emphasize, and for people to respond to: make them big.


Bayer M, Sommer W, Schacht A. 2012. Font size matters—emotion and attention in cortical responses to written words. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36042. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036042

Photo from here.

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