You're a good structure, Charlie Brown

the distribution of narrative categories in comic strips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Cohn's (2013) theory of "Visual Narrative Grammar" argues that sequential images take on categorical roles in a narrative structure, which organizes them into hierarchic constituents analogous to the organization of syntactic categories in sentences. This theory proposes that narrative categories, like syntactic categories, can be identified through diagnostic tests that reveal tendencies for their distribution throughout a sequence. This paper describes four experiments testing these diagnostics to provide support for the validity of these narrative categories. In Experiment 1, participants reconstructed unordered panels of a comic strip into an order that makes sense. Experiment 2 measured viewing times to panels in sequences where the order of panels was reversed. In Experiment 3, participants again reconstructed strips but also deleted a panel from the sequence. Finally, in Experiment 4 participants identified where a panel had been deleted from a comic strip and rated that strip's coherence. Overall, categories had consistent distributional tendencies within experiments and complementary tendencies across experiments. These results point toward an interaction between categorical roles and a global narrative structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-59
Number of pages43
JournalCognitive Science
Volume38
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Routine Diagnostic Tests
Experiments
Syntactics
Testing

Keywords

  • Communication
  • comics
  • narrative
  • Language
  • linguistics
  • Narration
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychological Theory
  • Reading
  • Visual Perception
  • visual communication
  • Visual language

Cite this

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title = "You're a good structure, Charlie Brown: the distribution of narrative categories in comic strips",
abstract = "Cohn's (2013) theory of {"}Visual Narrative Grammar{"} argues that sequential images take on categorical roles in a narrative structure, which organizes them into hierarchic constituents analogous to the organization of syntactic categories in sentences. This theory proposes that narrative categories, like syntactic categories, can be identified through diagnostic tests that reveal tendencies for their distribution throughout a sequence. This paper describes four experiments testing these diagnostics to provide support for the validity of these narrative categories. In Experiment 1, participants reconstructed unordered panels of a comic strip into an order that makes sense. Experiment 2 measured viewing times to panels in sequences where the order of panels was reversed. In Experiment 3, participants again reconstructed strips but also deleted a panel from the sequence. Finally, in Experiment 4 participants identified where a panel had been deleted from a comic strip and rated that strip's coherence. Overall, categories had consistent distributional tendencies within experiments and complementary tendencies across experiments. These results point toward an interaction between categorical roles and a global narrative structure.",
keywords = "Communication, comics, narrative, Language, linguistics, Narration, Photic Stimulation, Psychological Theory, Reading, Visual Perception, visual communication, Visual language",
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}

You're a good structure, Charlie Brown : the distribution of narrative categories in comic strips. / Cohn, Neil.

In: Cognitive Science, Vol. 38, No. 7, 22.03.2014, p. 1317-59.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T2 - the distribution of narrative categories in comic strips

AU - Cohn, Neil

N1 - © 2014 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.

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N2 - Cohn's (2013) theory of "Visual Narrative Grammar" argues that sequential images take on categorical roles in a narrative structure, which organizes them into hierarchic constituents analogous to the organization of syntactic categories in sentences. This theory proposes that narrative categories, like syntactic categories, can be identified through diagnostic tests that reveal tendencies for their distribution throughout a sequence. This paper describes four experiments testing these diagnostics to provide support for the validity of these narrative categories. In Experiment 1, participants reconstructed unordered panels of a comic strip into an order that makes sense. Experiment 2 measured viewing times to panels in sequences where the order of panels was reversed. In Experiment 3, participants again reconstructed strips but also deleted a panel from the sequence. Finally, in Experiment 4 participants identified where a panel had been deleted from a comic strip and rated that strip's coherence. Overall, categories had consistent distributional tendencies within experiments and complementary tendencies across experiments. These results point toward an interaction between categorical roles and a global narrative structure.

AB - Cohn's (2013) theory of "Visual Narrative Grammar" argues that sequential images take on categorical roles in a narrative structure, which organizes them into hierarchic constituents analogous to the organization of syntactic categories in sentences. This theory proposes that narrative categories, like syntactic categories, can be identified through diagnostic tests that reveal tendencies for their distribution throughout a sequence. This paper describes four experiments testing these diagnostics to provide support for the validity of these narrative categories. In Experiment 1, participants reconstructed unordered panels of a comic strip into an order that makes sense. Experiment 2 measured viewing times to panels in sequences where the order of panels was reversed. In Experiment 3, participants again reconstructed strips but also deleted a panel from the sequence. Finally, in Experiment 4 participants identified where a panel had been deleted from a comic strip and rated that strip's coherence. Overall, categories had consistent distributional tendencies within experiments and complementary tendencies across experiments. These results point toward an interaction between categorical roles and a global narrative structure.

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KW - linguistics

KW - Narration

KW - Photic Stimulation

KW - Psychological Theory

KW - Reading

KW - Visual Perception

KW - visual communication

KW - Visual language

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