Psyched Up: Two Senses Are Better That One

Psyched Up: Two Senses Are Better Than One

Interactive content is proven to increase engagement, click-through, and conversion rates… but why? In this three-post series, we’ll be exploring the inner workings of the consumer mind and the psychological concepts that explain why interactive content makes scientific sense. In post 2 of 3, we’ll be talking about multisensory learning. If you missed post 1 of 3, check it out here!


Think about the last time you went to a concert. The loud music and screams of die-hard fans ring in your ears; the smells of sweat, alcohol, and fast food fill your nose; your eyes take in flashing lights, moving bodies, and glinting instruments; you feel the people beside you and the music’s beat in your chest. Believe it or not, our brains want as much sensory information as we can get. The more sensory information we have, the easier it is for our brains to perceive the event as a complete experience. You are much more likely to remember the concert because of the huge amount of sensory stimulation you took in. This goes back to our cave-people roots- the world we were learning to adapt to was throwing sensory information at us left and right, and we evolved to learn best in that environment.

The concept of multisensory learning applies to the way we learn new information every day. Multisensory learning is exactly what it sounds like: using more than one sense to learn new information. Dr. Richard Mayer of UC Santa Barbara, whose focus lies in multimedia learning, conducted a study in which a classroom was divided into three groups. Group 1 received information by only hearing it, Group 2 received that information by only seeing it, and Group 3 received both auditory and visual input of that information. The results were groundbreaking. Group 3, which learned in a multisensory environment, had more accurate, detailed, and longer-lasting recall of the information, even twenty years later!

When two senses are stimulated together, they enhance each other. In a test referenced by John Medina in his book Brain Rules, people saw a flash of light next to their hand. When a touch was given to the people’s hands as the light flashed, the visual system in the brain lit up 30% more than with visual input alone. Two senses are better than one!

How does this apply to interactive content?

Interactive content is an example of a multisensory learning experience! The visual input (in the form of text, pictures, and animations) is paired with tactile input and motor production (swiping or clicking through the interactive experience). Because more sensory input creates a solid experience in the consumer’s brain, interactive content is miles ahead of static content when it comes to brand recall, awareness, and affinity. At a time when the human attention span is as low as 8.25 seconds, being remembered as a brand is key. Why not harness the power of your customers’ own senses to create an experience worth remembering?

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