August craziness from the east side of the Atlantic

Busy times lately: This marks my first blog post on the east side of the Atlantic! I’ve now been living in the Netherlands for the better part of August, and things have been a bit crazy moving and getting settled in. We’re now entering the new school year here at Tilburg University, where I’m teaching my introductory course on The Visual Language of Comics, and co-teaching Multimodal Communication with Joost Schilperoord. I’ve even got a keen new departmental profile page!

In between initially moving to the Netherlands and fully moving in, I actually flew back to the States to attend the recent Cognitive Science Society conference in Philadelphia. It was a great conference, especially with the theme of event comprehension.

For my part, I organized a symposium on “Comics and Cognitive Systems” (pdf) which featured an introductory talk by me about how you can use different methods (theory, experimentation, corpus analysis) to converge on greater knowledge of issues than using any one method. This was followed by a great talk by my colleague Joe Magliano about generating inferences in sequential images. My collaborator Emily Coderre then talked about our recent brainwave experiments looking at how autistics process visual narratives compared to sentences. Finally, my collaborator Lia Kendall discussed her behavioral and brainwave studies comparing cartoony and realistic drawing styles. It was an exciting session!

Later on, I gave a second talk about how “Sequential images are not universal” (pdf). This presentation was a caveat to people who use sequential images/comics for experiments and outreach believing that they are universally understood and transparent. I then showed cross-cultural research showing that not everyone understands sequential images, and developmental work showing that understanding of the sequence as a sequence falls along a particular developmental trajectory.

More updates coming soon including a recently published paper, a few more papers about to be published, and hopefully video from recent presentations like Comic-Con.


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