Persuasion Matters

Example of a print ad for a Saab car

Do You See What I See? Gender Differences in Graphic Perception

When it comes to trial graphics and demonstratives, do male jurors see the same thing as female jurors?  Interesting question.

Business Insider featured an article addressing research conducted by EyeTrackShop, a company that uses eye-tracking technology to determine what customers look at when viewing visual advertisements.

The study, conducted in Norway with a relatively small sample size (50 men/50 women), was designed to measure differences between the genders related to gazing patterns, tracking sequence and the time spent on various aspects of the ads.  The participants were shown three ads:

  1. An H&M-bikini-clad woman on a beach;
  2. A naked, tattooed woman wearing Reebox athletic shoes;
  3. And an ad featuring a silver Nya Saab 9-5.

While there were very few differences between the gazing or tracking patterns of men and women in any of the three ads– where they looked, or the order in which they looked at what– there were differences in the amount of time they spent gazing on a particular area of the graphic.

For example:



In this particular ad, men spent almost 85% more time than women focusing on the visual image of the vehicle. Women, however, spent nearly twice as much time than men studying the logo, and slightly less time than men studying the bullet-point list of car features.

The H&M and Reebox ads were a little more provocative, so I’ve opted not to post them.  However, I encourage you to glance at the study, as the findings are quite interesting.  One amusing fact:  men viewing the Reebox ad never even looked at the shoes!


So, what does all of this mean when it comes to preparing visual aids for the courtroom?

Powerful trial graphics obviously need to have visual appeal for the fact-finder, but as this research suggests, there are no statistically significant differences in what or where men and women focus their attention.  Although we obviously cannot weave images of naked women and sports cars into our client’s trial graphics, we can incorporate the themes and messages associated with our story into the graphics in a compelling, creative and meaningful manner.

Graphic demonstratives are a “must” in today’s world of litigation.  Visual aids focus the juror’s attention on the message you want to communicate.  Graphics also increase juror retention and comprehension by reinforcing universal truths, key messages and critical facts important to your case.   The added bonus?  When graphics complement oral speech (such as opening statement or witness testimony), jurors retain nearly twice as much data than with the spoken language alone.

Jurors benefit from visuals.  Use them to your advantage.



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