The notion of the motion: the neurocognition of motion lines in visual narratives

Neil Cohn, Stephen Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Motion lines appear ubiquitously in graphic representation to depict the path of a moving object, most popularly in comics. Some researchers have argued that these graphic signs directly tie to the "streaks" appearing in the visual system when a viewer tracks an object (Burr, 2000), despite the fact that previous studies have been limited to offline measurements. Here, we directly examine the cognition of motion lines by comparing images in comic strips that depicted normal motion lines with those that either had no lines or anomalous, reversed lines. In Experiment 1, shorter viewing times appeared to images with normal lines than those with no lines, which were shorter than those with anomalous lines. In Experiment 2, measurements of event-related potentials (ERPs) showed that, compared to normal lines, panels with no lines elicited a posterior positivity that was distinct from the frontal positivity evoked by anomalous lines. These results suggested that motion lines aid in the comprehension of depicted events. LORETA source localization implicated greater activation of visual and language areas when understanding was made more difficult by anomalous lines. Furthermore, in both experiments, participants' experience reading comics modulated these effects, suggesting motion lines are not tied to aspects of the visual system, but rather are conventionalized parts of the "vocabulary" of the visual language of comics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Volume1601
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • narrative
  • comics
  • visual perception
  • Cognition
  • Event related potentials
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • motion lines
  • motion
  • psychology
  • Motion Perception
  • BROCAS AREA

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