Is a Picture ALWAYS Worth a Thousand Words?

man with a camera taking a picture from his car

Pictures are remarkably sticky in our brains, aren’t they? It could be the image of “Lunch atop a Skyscraper,” “the Battle of Iwo Jima,” “Gandhi and the spinning wheel,” or even a super old class picture that you went to looking your best, only to close your eyes and bare your teeth at the unfortunately timed ‘Click.’

Picture superiority effect is a term that I heard only very recently. Simply put, it is a phenomenon in which pictures and images are more likely to be remembered than words. 

We are no strangers to that little nugget of information, though, are we? 

I distinctly remember and am immensely thankful for those one-page ‘infographics’ I learned a day before the exams only to purge myself of that information the following day on reams of paper.

I can likely provide a line-by-line account of scenes from a movie that I like. Written words, however, don’t come to my mind with such clarity and precision. 

I blame it on my tiny brain; there is only so much information it can store and effectively retrieve. If I give preferential treatment to reams and reams of high-rated IMDB movie content, it’s only fair that that’s the first reference it returns when I search for information.

Why this rant, however?

Well, a TV series, of course! 

I recently got hooked to Endeavour, a British TV series based on the famed Oxford detective, Endeavour Morse. Especially the latest rendition starring Shaun Evans as Morse and Roger Allam as Thursday

poster of the british tv show endeavour
Poster of the TV show in question

There is a lot to love about this Oxford dropout detective – his sharp brain, refined taste in classical music, meticulous work, and the heap of extremely complicated cases with which he flexes his IQ. 

I have been chided by my friends for obsessing over him. And you can see why.

I won’t ruin the show for you to do justice to it (if you ever decide to give it a go). There are so many of his one-liners and smiles that will floor you. 

The most recent one that did me for a momentary distraction ogling at ‘lunch atop a skyscraper’.

The scene is of a police station:

Colleague: A picture speaks a thousand words.

Morse (casually, walking away with his back to his colleague): Depends on the words.

Classic Morse!


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