[Skip to Navigation]
October 1985

How Many Slides for a Medical Lecture?

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(10):1925. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360100199036

To the Editor.  —The medical lecture and the television news program share some common goals. Both must capture the audience's attention, transmit information, and generate interest in tuning in again. Despite these common goals, an Archives editorial1 advised medical lecturers to avoid an effective news program strategy: plenty of visual material.Visual aids, including text displays, diagrams, maps, and photographs, abound on news programs. A rapidly presented sequence of pictures can explain an issue step by step. Frequent picture changes can maintain viewer interest. On television, pictures are most numerous when the pressure for effective communication is greatest: during the commercials.Surprisingly, the Archives editorial called for generally limiting the number of lecture slides and spending three to five minutes on each one. Such a slow pace would bore a television viewer. Why does the editorial, which cites many empiric studies, call for such a pace?Wouldn't a series