Binocularity is the ability for both eyes to work in unison. It entails bringing unified focus on an object as it approaches, capturing the image, and sending signals back to the brain. This allows us to “see” clearly. This pivotal aspect of depth perception requires the two eyes to work in harmony as a team. If this process fails, the image in the mind will appear blurred or double.
David Marr, a British neuroscientist and psychologist, generated an astronomic amount of research that integrated neurophysiology, visual processing, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Just before his death, he stated: “Vision, the process that produces, from images of the external world, a description that’s useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information.” Can you think back to the last time you sat through a mediocre presentation [cluttered with irrelevant information] that left you without a clear line of sight?
When crafting a vision for an organization, a duality frequently gets lost in the morass of PowerPoint slide decks and executive speeches. When you consider the diversity of skill-sets and roles within an organization, it’s imperative that every associate understands the information needed to grasp the vision and what it represents.
In 1971, two renowned cognitive scientists at Stanford University conducted an experiment that illustrates this point. Roger Shepard and Jacqueline Metzler designed a study in which participants were shown two objects in different orientations, and then measured (with a stopwatch) the time it took for them to determine if the objects were the same. The objects were either rotated in the picture plane so that the two-dimensional image didn’t change (top left image). Or around a vertical axis (top right image). Or where the two-dimensional object appeared completely different (bottom middle image).
Using a tachistoscope, (a viewing box with a shutter that allows for precise measurement of image recognition), participants pulled specific handles to make their choices. Though half the objects were identical and half were different, Shepard and Metzler were only interested in the results when objects were the same, but oriented in more complex ways. The results?
As the objects were rotated at greater degrees (an eighty-degree versus a forty-degree turn), it took the person twice as long to make a decision.
The results were linear, for every degree of rotation, time increased proportionately. This implies that when communicating complicated information, one can’t assume that the receiver can readily decipher its meaning. Hence, complex data requires greater simplicity when conveying it. Placing such information into a simple, well-illustrated visual can make the difference.
This experiment indicated that, when presented with illustrations, the brain (generally) functions with marksman accuracy and predictability. Prior to this experiment, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis prevailed as the explanation of how we cognitively think and tackle problems. It stated that language explicitly (spoken or in text) shapes thinking patterns and thoughts. The Shepard and Metzler experiment demonstrated that some aspects of cognition don’t involve language.
For example, imagine trying to explain the differences found with each shape using text and oral explanations. Not easy. It would take more time, especially as the objects became more convoluted. A picture let’s the mind engage its cognitive workings to make the connection and yield a response.
The DNA of transformational organizations scripts them with a compendious ability to craft a vision, engage people in the mission, and navigate change—while simultaneously moving the participants closer to the intended targets. They do this with well-designed visuals that depict the information needed to garnish engagement.
So…ask yourself. What are you doing in your organizations to ensure all participants can clearly “see” where you are going?
Please take a moment and view the video below from my friend Nancy Duarte as she unveils proven ways to help people “see” the cast vision.