Visual narrative comprehension: Universal or not?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Visual narratives of sequential images - as found in comics, picture stories, and storyboards - are often thought to provide a fairly universal and transparent message that requires minimal learning to decode. This perceived transparency has led to frequent use of sequential images as experimental stimuli in the cognitive and psychological sciences to explore a wide range of topics. In addition, it underlines efforts to use visual narratives in science and health communication and as educational materials in both classroom settings and across developmental, clinical, and non-literate populations. Yet, combined with recent studies from the linguistic and cognitive sciences, decades of research suggest that visual narratives involve greater complexity and decoding than widely assumed. This review synthesizes observations from cross-cultural and developmental research on the comprehension and creation of visual narrative sequences, as well as findings from clinical psychology (e.g., autism, developmental language disorder, aphasia). Altogether, this work suggests that understanding the visual languages found in comics and visual narratives requires a fluency that is contingent on exposure and practice with a graphic system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2019

Fingerprint

Language Development Disorders
Linguistics
Language
Visual Narrative
Narrative Comprehension

Keywords

  • fluency
  • visual narrative
  • linguistics
  • autism
  • child development
  • developmental psychology
  • cross-cultural psychology

Cite this

@article{94624a4b337149019f27e5141137b2a5,
title = "Visual narrative comprehension: Universal or not?",
abstract = "Visual narratives of sequential images - as found in comics, picture stories, and storyboards - are often thought to provide a fairly universal and transparent message that requires minimal learning to decode. This perceived transparency has led to frequent use of sequential images as experimental stimuli in the cognitive and psychological sciences to explore a wide range of topics. In addition, it underlines efforts to use visual narratives in science and health communication and as educational materials in both classroom settings and across developmental, clinical, and non-literate populations. Yet, combined with recent studies from the linguistic and cognitive sciences, decades of research suggest that visual narratives involve greater complexity and decoding than widely assumed. This review synthesizes observations from cross-cultural and developmental research on the comprehension and creation of visual narrative sequences, as well as findings from clinical psychology (e.g., autism, developmental language disorder, aphasia). Altogether, this work suggests that understanding the visual languages found in comics and visual narratives requires a fluency that is contingent on exposure and practice with a graphic system.",
keywords = "fluency, visual narrative, linguistics, autism, child development, developmental psychology, cross-cultural psychology",
author = "Neil Cohn",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
day = "9",
doi = "10.3758/s13423-019-01670-1",
language = "English",
journal = "Psychonomic Bulletin & Review",
issn = "1069-9384",
publisher = "Springer",

}

Visual narrative comprehension : Universal or not? / Cohn, Neil.

In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 09.12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Visual narrative comprehension

T2 - Universal or not?

AU - Cohn, Neil

PY - 2019/12/9

Y1 - 2019/12/9

N2 - Visual narratives of sequential images - as found in comics, picture stories, and storyboards - are often thought to provide a fairly universal and transparent message that requires minimal learning to decode. This perceived transparency has led to frequent use of sequential images as experimental stimuli in the cognitive and psychological sciences to explore a wide range of topics. In addition, it underlines efforts to use visual narratives in science and health communication and as educational materials in both classroom settings and across developmental, clinical, and non-literate populations. Yet, combined with recent studies from the linguistic and cognitive sciences, decades of research suggest that visual narratives involve greater complexity and decoding than widely assumed. This review synthesizes observations from cross-cultural and developmental research on the comprehension and creation of visual narrative sequences, as well as findings from clinical psychology (e.g., autism, developmental language disorder, aphasia). Altogether, this work suggests that understanding the visual languages found in comics and visual narratives requires a fluency that is contingent on exposure and practice with a graphic system.

AB - Visual narratives of sequential images - as found in comics, picture stories, and storyboards - are often thought to provide a fairly universal and transparent message that requires minimal learning to decode. This perceived transparency has led to frequent use of sequential images as experimental stimuli in the cognitive and psychological sciences to explore a wide range of topics. In addition, it underlines efforts to use visual narratives in science and health communication and as educational materials in both classroom settings and across developmental, clinical, and non-literate populations. Yet, combined with recent studies from the linguistic and cognitive sciences, decades of research suggest that visual narratives involve greater complexity and decoding than widely assumed. This review synthesizes observations from cross-cultural and developmental research on the comprehension and creation of visual narrative sequences, as well as findings from clinical psychology (e.g., autism, developmental language disorder, aphasia). Altogether, this work suggests that understanding the visual languages found in comics and visual narratives requires a fluency that is contingent on exposure and practice with a graphic system.

KW - fluency

KW - visual narrative

KW - linguistics

KW - autism

KW - child development

KW - developmental psychology

KW - cross-cultural psychology

U2 - 10.3758/s13423-019-01670-1

DO - 10.3758/s13423-019-01670-1

M3 - Review article

C2 - 31820277

JO - Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

JF - Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

SN - 1069-9384

ER -