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EDTEC 561, SDSU, Spring 2007  
Reflection to 'Picture Perception'
Chapter 33, Anglin, G.; Vaez, H.; & Cunningham, K. L. (2004). Handbook of research on educational communications and technology. Second edition.

In Section 33.2, this article introduces ten picture perceptions that are, as the author said, “scientific theories”. Some of these perceptions believe that picture’s meaning is based on the picture’s resemblance to the visual environment; some perceptions believe that picture’s meaning is based upon pictorial conventions; others take a compromise position. The article also introduces semiotic and cognitive science approaches. Since the article does not depict how the perceptions were developed, I have questions about how the researchers or philosophers come out with these theories. Did laboratory evidences such as neuroscience support them? Or, they were generalized by induction or inference from participants’ behaviors? I am interested in what emerging studies tell us about picture perception. One of the perspectives that the article introduces is Nelson Goodman’s symbol systems theory. Goodman found Project Zero in Harvard University in 1967 and many respectable researchers succeeded the project. Section 33.2 also introduces Howard Gardner’s research on left and right hemisphere of the human brain in Project Zero. Gardner has conducted his researches on cognitive and symbol-using capacities with brain damage and gifted people (Gardner, 2005). His studies from neuroscience point of views have provided educators a new understanding about picture perception.

Section 33.4 discusses about pictures and knowledge acquisition by summarizing more than two thousands of researches on both static pictures and animated pictures. The research results are mixed, some find static and animated graphics are helpful to student learning, some do not. After comparing and analyzing, I found that those studies do not identify picture effects were mainly concluded with following reasons: (a) the illustrations used are not related or vaguely related to the text; (b) the pictures do not convey new information; and (c) the illustrations do not help depict the structural relationships covered by the text. In other word, for pictures serving a representation, organization, interpretation, or transformation function will at least facilitate learner in a moderate degree in terms of attending, feeling or thinking about the information being presented.

Gardner, H. (2005). Multiple Lenses on the Mind. Retrieved from http://www.howardgardner.com/docs/multiple_lenses_0505.pdf.