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Your brain has a cartoon part - Input Junkie
September 23rd, 2009
11:59 am


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Your brain has a cartoon part
In a TED talk about visual hallucinations, Oliver Sacks says there's a specific area of the brain which is activated when one recognizes, draws, or hallucinates cartoons. (13:53)

So I looked for whether Scott McCloud had anything to say on the subject, and found this.

Unfortunately, the link to the Korean study doesn't work, but there's a more detailed discussion of identification with cartoon drawings than realistic drawings here.

I don't know if the existence of cartoon section of the brain has any implications for drawing. At least, I would hope that my well-read friendslist might know of a cartoon or so on the subject.

Where poking around McCloud's blog, I was reminded of the Zoomquilt, which is still a lot of fun.

TED link thanks to shadesong.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I have occasionally dreamed in cartoon, which was hella weird.
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
This may be unsatisfying, but I was able to get much of the text out of Google's cache in HTML form:

The PDF would be much nicer.
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks. If I understand it correctly, fewer people empathize with the cartoon character, but those who do, empathize more.
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
Seems to me that the "cartoony section of the brain" may be related to an infant's ability to perceive and recognize human faces.
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
Part that, part basic pattern recognition.

We are pattern recognition DEMONS... which is why we can parse emotional intention from something as simple as :(
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
I am an illustrator and I cannot draw cartoons to save my life. They keep coming out as realistic.
[User Picture]
Date:September 24th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
I do design and have tried to illustrate some of my writing, and I have the exact opposite problem.
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
So, I'm not actually sure what question you are asking here, however there is an astounding amount of psychological literature on pattern recognition (which is the basic mechanism behind why cartoons work) as it relates to other aspects of cognition.

Sadly I no longer have access to Psych Info or I could probably find you more articles then you could shake a stick at.

A really good place to look would be infant studies, it's a really popular angle for pattern and face recognition studies.
Date:September 24th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC)

Graphic sequence Atlas Shrugged

Hi Nancy it's Pyracantha (Hannah)

Remotely related to the psychology of cartoons and drawing...

I'm finally doing graphic sequences from ATLAS SHRUGGED. They're posted on my Weblog
"Art By-Products"


Leave a comment if you feel like doing so, I'd love to know what you think about it.

Yours, Pyracantha
[User Picture]
Date:September 24th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely delightful. I often wish Dr. Sacks was my neurologist; I hadn't read his books in years and he makes some of the "weird" stuff that goes on in my brain sound downright normal, like "What are you complaining about?"
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