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This Is Your Brain on Manga

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mellowmut
Post #82947
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1:02 am, Nov 3 2007
Posts: 325


Another link:
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-11/ff_manga _chiba

By Daniel H. Pink Email 10.22.07 | 6:00 PM

It begins, as so many Japanese comics do, with a bizarre turn of events: One gray Sunday afternoon, Jun Nakazawa turned me into a lab rat.

Nakazawa is a 52-year-old developmental psychologist with a deceptively calm demeanor. From a dingy office and laboratory at Chiba University outside Tokyo, he studies how the eyes and brain collaborate to process complex images like the mixture of words and images found in manga. I was interested in his research, but Nakazawa was interested in my mind. So he fixed my chin atop a steel support rack (the kind you'd find at an ophthalmologist's office), pointed an infrared eye tracker at my eyes to record their movements, and made me read an eight-page installment of Dragonball from the English-language edition of Shonen Jump.

When I was done, Nakazawa played a video of my eyes, complete with green lines showing where they had moved and red dots indicating where they had stopped. He claimed to be impressed that I accurately followed the sometimes peculiar conventions of manga sequences. But as a Westerner without deep experience with manga, I displayed the hallmarks of what we might call a "prose mind." My eyes herked and jerked across each page, stopping to linger over any text I encountered almost as if I were scouting for words rather than absorbing pictures. a Then he asked one of his research assistants, 29-year-old Nakamichi Keito, to step up. Keito was asked to read a passage from Yanki-kun and Megane-chan, a series he doesn't usually follow. When Nakazawa played Keito's video, it was a revelation. His eyes slalomed smoothly from page edge to page edge, rarely stopping at the text. In fact, there were portions of pages that his eyes never touched because, as Nakazawa explained, Keito was either processing the words through his peripheral vision or simply imputing what was there. Like a seasoned skier, he moved with great speed yet remained acutely aware of his surroundings.

Keito has a "manga mind," capable of understanding context, supplying missing information, and interpreting word and image as one. But that's something that I despite extended exposure to Japanese comics over several months haven't yet developed. Which explains why I'm writing this account, not drawing it. After all, a prose mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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daed
Post #82961
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1:08 am, Nov 3 2007
Posts: 1574


im definately picking up that issue of wired this week

amaranthine
Post #83805
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8:15 pm, Nov 3 2007
Posts: 4017


So people who have "manga brain" just quickly browse through the pages without really reading it? Can it be that they're just super fast readers? I don't think I do that, I'll read each word and look at the drawings for some time before turning to another page.

Dr. Love
Post #83816 - Reply to (#83805) by amaranthine
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8:21 pm, Nov 3 2007
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Quote from amaranthine
So people who have "manga brain" just quickly browse through the pages without really reading it? Can it be that they're just super fast readers? I don't think I do that, I'll read each word and look at the drawings for some time before turning to another page.

I second that.. eyes Because if you read it like that, you may miss some details..

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kevmasterzoc
Post #83831
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8:40 pm, Nov 3 2007
Posts: 6


In the article, it never said anything about the "manga brain" quickly read through the manga. it just says that he read through it smoothly rather than stopping at every text he sees. he just maybe reads a little faster since he doesn't have to stop to read every word to understand whats going on in the story. he can read and look at the picture at the same time.

The same could probably be said about watching anime with subtitles. Some people would need to constantly look at the subtitle to be able to read it, but then miss some of the picture because of it. people who are use to watching anime with subtitles can probably read the subtitles while still focusing on the picture

Dr. Love
Post #83837
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8:55 pm, Nov 3 2007
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You're right about the subtitles..

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amaranthine
Post #83870 - Reply to (#83831) by kevmasterzoc
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9:57 pm, Nov 3 2007
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Quote from kevmasterzoc
In the article, it never said anything about the "manga brain" quickly read through the manga. it just says that he read through it smoothly rather than stopping at every text he sees. he just maybe reads a little faster since he doesn't have to stop to read every word to understand whats going on in the story. he can read and look at the picture at the same time.


Isn't it reading faster if he reads it smoothly then? As opposed to the "prose mind" who stops, reads the text, and goes at it slowly?

Anyway, it's just an email and not the printed conclusion of the study. There could also be a difference in reading kanji and roman letters, since the two guys read different things (I wouldn't know, I can't read Japanese characters).

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