Demonstratives no image

Published on December 21st, 2012 | by Trey Cox


The Weiss-McGrath Study

The commonsense conclusion that demonstrative evidence makes a presentation more memorable is supported by science. For example, McGraw-Hill published the Weiss-McGrath study, which was designed to evaluate information retention1.  The study compared retention of information presented in three different formats: (1) orally only, (2) visually only and (3) visually and orally. After the presentation, researchers measured retention at various intervals. After 72 hours (the length of a short trial), the group presented information solely by oral means retained only 10 percent of the information. The group receiving information solely by visual means retained twice the information, but still only 20 percent of the total material presented. Those who received the information both orally and visually retained 65 percent of the information presented. In simple terms individuals presented with both visual and oral information retain the information much longer – three to six times longer. In addition to making the subject matter more interesting, showing the jury a diagram, chart or animation lends credibility to what is said by the lawyer or witness. Jurors are simply more likely to believe something they see with their own eyes rather than something a lawyer or a witness says is true.

By the way, what makes my point more clearly: the preceding paragraph or the following chart?

1. H. Weiss and J. B. McGrath, Technically Speaking: Oral Communication for Engineers Scientists and Technical Personnel, New York:  McGraw-Hill 1963.

About the Author

specializes in courtroom fights between businesses. His jury trial experience and courtroom success have earned him the distinction of being Board Certified as a Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Trey represents Fortune 500 corporations, entrepreneurs, and leading firms in a wide array of industries. His dedication to his clients and winning track record have repeatedly earned him recognition as one of the top trial lawyers in the country.

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑