Zooming in on visual narrative comprehension

Tom Foulsham*, Neil Cohn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The comprehension of visual narratives requires paying attention to certain elements and integrating them across a sequence of images. To study this process, we developed a new approach that modified comic strips according to where observers looked while viewing each sequence. Across three self-paced experiments, we presented sequences of six panels that were sometimes automatically "zoomed-in" or re-framed in order to highlight parts of the image that had been fixated by another group of observers. Fixation zoom panels were rated as easier to understand and produced viewing times more similar to the original comic than panels modified to contain non-fixated or incongruous regions. When a single panel depicting the start of an action was cropped to show only the most fixated region, viewing times were similar to the original narrative despite the reduced information. Modifying such panels also had an impact on the viewing time on subsequent panels, both when zoomed in and when regions were highlighted through an "inset" panel. These findings demonstrate that fixations in a visual narrative are guided to informative elements, and that these elements influence both the current panel and the processing of the sequence.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalMemory & Cognition
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Visual language
  • Visual narrative
  • Comics
  • Attention
  • EVENT-RELATED POTENTIALS
  • EYE-MOVEMENTS
  • SEMANTIC ROLES
  • NATURAL SCENES
  • JAVASCRIPT
  • ATTENTION
  • SALIENCY
  • AGENTS
  • TIME

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