Neil Cohn Profile picture
Associate Professor at @TilburgU: language, (neuro)cognition, comics, emoji, & multimodality (he/him). Lab members: @cogirmak, @LichtenbergLen 😮‍💨🫠🫥🥹
Jan 26, 2022 13 tweets 7 min read
Since hot takes on comics are going around, here’s one: there is no such thing as “the comics medium” in any uniform sense, and people’s judgements or advice about reading or creating comics is also relative… /1 ImageImageImageImage We have considerable evidence at this point that comics from different places, genres, etc. have systematic patterns that differ from each other, and how you read and understand comics depends on which ones you read /2
Jun 5, 2021 14 tweets 10 min read
On Monday I’ll be speaking at the Emoji2021 workshop
@icwsm, so I figured it’d be a good time to do an emoji thread, because I’ve now been involved both with creating emoji and with doing research about their cognition /1 The latest emoji update has now started hitting phones, including the Face Exhaling/Breath Face Emoji (😮‍💨) which I actually proposed along with @jenniferdaniel! So, here's a bit about how it came to be /2
Mar 21, 2021 17 tweets 7 min read
Many people feel they “can’t draw”, which seems odd given assumptions about drawing as a direct pathway to visual concepts. We can all see, so why can’t we draw? So here’s a thread why everything you know about learning to draw is wrong… 1/ First off, here’s what I think are predominant beliefs about learning to draw:
1. Drawing is about what you see, either by eye or in your “imagination”
2. People have talent or they don’t
3. Having your “own” style is good
4. Thus copying is bad

Do these sound familiar? 2/
Jan 1, 2021 12 tweets 7 min read
The Calvin and Hobbes comic strip ended 25 years ago, so let’s celebrate a New Years treat by analyzing it! Awhile back I had a students annotate structures in every C&H strip, so we have data on the whole thing. As Calvin says: let’s go exploring! 1/ An interesting feature of this strip is that Watterson took a few sabbaticals during its run, and came back with more artistic freedom. So, I’ll focus here on how a few aspects of the strip change over time. Here’s what every panel per strip looks like (all 14,712 panels!) 2/
Dec 31, 2020 12 tweets 4 min read
I’ve been reading several research papers lately with drawing as a task, and it’s gotten me riled up enough that it’s time for a rant thread. The short of it: Stop treating drawing as if there are no systems, no conventions, and that it’s an unmediated link to visual concepts 1/ First off, drawing is a complex cognitive activity involving numerous subsystems, not some direct pathway from perception (or visual imagery) to motor control as is assumed when using drawing in clinical contexts 2/…
Jan 22, 2018 19 tweets 9 min read
A few days ago @matt_thorn_en had an excellent thread about layouts in manga. Here I want to expand on that, from the perspective of cognition and psychology. It may surprise people, but there’s been actual science done on the rules of #comics page layouts… As explained in that thread, manga readers use meeting points between panels to signal whether to read horizontally or vertically. These are cued by "T" shapes or "+" shapes between panels