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For whom is a picture worth a thousand words? How does the visualizing cognitive style affect processing of news photos?
Unformatted Document Text:  Processing of news photos 18 learners may have a better ability to organize visual information efficiently and meaningfully. Further research needs to probe this possibility. There was no relationship for visualizing on the other scales: typicality and activity. Perhaps these perceptions are more dependent on the nature of the photographs themselves and not due to a more attuned visual sense. People may not need to be highly visually oriented to perceive typicality and activity in photos. This study is the first to suggest how visual learned “see” photographs. Interestingly, the same pattern of results was found for verbal learners. They found the photos more interesting and less complex/more organized than those who were not verbal learners. It is less clear why this is the case. Combining the interest results with the lack of relationship between verbalizing and memory suggests that interest in visuals is not a precondition for learning from them. The third goal of this study was to examine whether the visualizer style was related to processing photographs, in light of the lack of relationship for the visual learners in Mendelson and Thorson (1997), which examined the effects of cognitive styles on the processing of news stories and photos in a newspaper. In that context, only the participant’s verbalizing level made a difference. Here, when the photos were alone, only the visualizing style was related to processing. Perhaps when photos are presented with news stories they serve mainly a headline function, telling readers the topic of the story, while not helping visualizers understand the meaning of the story any better. It may be that everyone goes to the headline and text for the main information. Often news photos simply show the main actors involved. To be helpful in learning, a picture needs to clarify relationships or transform the textual content into a more understandable format (Levin, Anglin & Carney, 1987; Levin, 1989). When photos are

Authors: Mendelson, Andrew.
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Processing of news photos
18
learners may have a better ability to organize visual information efficiently and meaningfully.
Further research needs to probe this possibility.
There was no relationship for visualizing on the other scales: typicality and activity.
Perhaps these perceptions are more dependent on the nature of the photographs themselves and
not due to a more attuned visual sense. People may not need to be highly visually oriented to
perceive typicality and activity in photos. This study is the first to suggest how visual learned
“see” photographs.
Interestingly, the same pattern of results was found for verbal learners. They found the
photos more interesting and less complex/more organized than those who were not verbal
learners. It is less clear why this is the case. Combining the interest results with the lack of
relationship between verbalizing and memory suggests that interest in visuals is not a
precondition for learning from them.
The third goal of this study was to examine whether the visualizer style was related to
processing photographs, in light of the lack of relationship for the visual learners in Mendelson
and Thorson (1997), which examined the effects of cognitive styles on the processing of news
stories and photos in a newspaper. In that context, only the participant’s verbalizing level made
a difference. Here, when the photos were alone, only the visualizing style was related to
processing. Perhaps when photos are presented with news stories they serve mainly a headline
function, telling readers the topic of the story, while not helping visualizers understand the
meaning of the story any better. It may be that everyone goes to the headline and text for the
main information. Often news photos simply show the main actors involved. To be helpful in
learning, a picture needs to clarify relationships or transform the textual content into a more
understandable format (Levin, Anglin & Carney, 1987; Levin, 1989). When photos are


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