Visual Thinking by Rudolph Arnheim. Berkeley: University Press, 1969

Arnheim’s book is an in-depth work of scholarly research about how and why visuals work to help us think better. He laments the paradigm (now beginning to change, 40 years after publication of his book) in which visuals are the “step sister” of words. “There is a tradition of describing perception as the inferior of the two cognitive powers,” he wrote. He said the arts are neglected because they are based on perception and perception is disdained because it is not assumed to involve thought in a traditional sense. To the contrary, he argues, visual perception is a critical aspect of cognitive capability for problem solving.