Wednesday, March 17, 2010
THE MAGIC NUMBER 7
At a talk by an innovation expert, I learned a surprising bit of information about writing lists, ads, and other informative copy. Put 7 objects on a table, then ask someone to tell you how many things are there. You will probably get the answer "7" immediately. Try it again with a new person and 8 objects. Instead of getting the immediate answer "8," most people will count "1, 2, 3... " before deciding. This has been tested, and an immediate answer usually comes at 7 plus or minus 2. To start counting when seeing 5 objects shows limited ability in this area. To recognize up to 9 without counting shows a special talent. That means the best list for anyone to grasp quickly is not a "Top 10," but a "Top 7" list. That amount of information sticks the best. Watch for our Top Seven lists in the future.