August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Reading pictures
Author Affiliations
  • Katharine Tillman
    Psychology and Neural Science, New York University
  • Denis Pelli
    Psychology and Neural Science, New York University
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 803. doi:
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Katharine Tillman, Denis Pelli; Reading pictures. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):803.

      Download citation file:

      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

Identifying an object requires matching it with a name stored in memory, much like looking up a word in a dictionary. We have previously shown that reading can be modeled surprisingly well as serial object recognition, where each word is an object (Pelli & Tillman, 2007). If words are identified like objects, are objects read like words? Here, we create hybrid word-picture narratives, where nouns are replaced by drawings of basic-level objects. We printed these stories on paper and asked subjects to read them silently as fast as they could without skipping any words. We find that, relative to unmodified (all-word) narratives, readers suffer no loss in comprehension when reading these hybrid stories. Most subjects read the hybrid stories slightly more slowly than all-word texts (15% slower on average). Additional tests compared word-only, picture-only, and hybrid sets of the same nouns in random order. Though words were read faster, there was no additional speed loss associated with switching back and forth from words to pictures. This suggests that reading and object recognition are not fundamentally different tasks. Thus, we can read pictures, and reading and object recognition really aren't so different after all.

Tillman, K. Pelli, D. (2009). Reading pictures [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):803, 803a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.803. [CrossRef]

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.