Many people are aware of psychologist Richard E. Mayer‘s multimedia research, and its applicability to presentation design. It is very good and relevant work. There is also much additional relevant research that is unfortunately not as well know, including research in advertising, communication, consumer behavior, computer science, and even law. Not all of this is explicitly about PowerPoint–in fact the majority of it is not–but it tells us a lot about how people interact with and are persuaded by presentation visuals and argument.
I have been compiling and analyzing this research for the past couple of years, and I will cover over 200 studies in my forthcoming book. In the meantime, if you’d like to get a preview, the bibliography in my recent column on evidence-based presentation design includes 40 of these studies.