My new book, Rip It Up, is based on a psychological idea known as the As If Principle.  I recently teamed up with the lovely and talented folk over at Cognitive Media to produce this great clip about the idea.

We also used the clip to run a fun experiment, examining the impact of this type of animation-based video compared to a standard talking head clip.  We had 2000 people come online (thanks to everyone who took part), and randomly assigned them to one of two groups.  One group watched a clip of me talking about the principle, whilst the other group saw the animation clip.

The results were fascinating and suggest that there is a 15% increase in the retention of information after watching the animation vs the talking head video.  There was also an impressive 66% increase in the amount of participants willing to share the animation.

More here.


  1. Dear Richard,

    Really like the Cognitive Media video!

    Could 23red post it on their website?

    Would we need Cognitive Media’s permission and if so who is the key contact?

    With best wishes,


    P.S. Still working on event idea…

  2. I’d’ve thought it’d be more than 15%, especially because the animation was so good! (I saw the video with Richard for the experiment. ) I wonder about that Harvard experiment, though – it’s 33 years old and, as far as I know, the results have never been replicated.

  3. I really love Cognitive Media’s style of teaching, explaining things. It’s really fun and what’s being explained is already very well visualised in my head with their animations. It’s a good way of teaching & learning.

  4. …very interesting. But if our job is to memorize the details for a short and a for longer period it will be more helpful to see only the speaker for more concentration.and less distraction.

    1. You’re making the mistake of thinking that the visual of the speaker isn’t a distraction. To me, and apparently many people, seeing nothing but the person speaking is a wasted information stream. It should be a no-brainer to reinforce the spoken message with visual representations of the topic at hand.

      I’m certainly less engaged in things like TED talks when the video is nothing but the person standing on stage yapping on and on. I also don’t see the point of music videos that are nothing but uncreative shots of the band performing the song. Even if you’re not a visual thinker, you should still make use what you have to boost the message you’re trying to convey.

    2. Mmh, well i think that audio and video will be taken-up in different channels anyway. Maybe the comparisen of them will take some extra power.
      But maybe i find the “speaker version” better, because i saw it this version first. Then my brain set the video input to a kind of standby mode, because it was showed just the well known face of Mr. Wiseman. (Ok there is also a lot of info, but i just memorized that he was the speaker)

  5. I love this type of video. They seem to be showing up everywhere recently. Did Cognitive Media invent the concept?

  6. I am thinking of some similarities and their connection. Following the hard-soft chair example, an experiment involving handing a cup of warm-cold coffee tumbler to a fellow passenger in lift and gauging their experiment afterwards. This was tested when they were asked to select a person for a job based on 5-minute so conversation.
    People handed warm tumbler were more likely to select the person.
    Note that people were unaware why they were handed the tumbler or what they were going to be asked later.
    But interesting.

  7. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read articles from other authors and practice something from other web sites.

  8. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a superb article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

  9. Hey there! I understand this is somewhat off-topic however
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    or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  10. I have just become an animated illustrator at this very moment, after spending a few moments on this… is this a blog?
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    I clicked this page by pure happenstance. I must say it is the most enlightening moment for this day so far. (And it is getting on into the evening!)
    THANK YOU, Richard Wiseman and Crew! You receive my Chingawa of the Day Award: Chingawa!

  11. I relish, result in I found exactly what I used
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