Global Attention in Reading Comics: Eye movement indications of interplay between narrative content and layout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article analyses indications of global attention in the eye-tracking data of 22 readers who read different double-page spreads in comic books or graphic novels. It further relates these indications to page layout and the narrative content of the images, and the way in which these two factors together affect states of attention. The research identifies forms of global attention in the readers’ patterns of fixations and saccades, in particular when their scanpaths deviated from the default Z-path reading order at the beginning and end of the reading task. Thus, the eye movement data suggests that the linear structure of the panel sequence, or the Z-path reading pattern, do not alone control the order of reading comics in longer publication formats. The findings qualify assumptions made in comics theory about ‘tabular’ reading, ‘global’ look, and the like, pertaining to the way in which panels and other salient features on the page merit attention in terms of their spatial arrangement, not only as sequences.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6122 Literature studies

Cite this