I am fascinated by the way that readers can extract meaning from very subtle cues in stories. This interest lies at the basis of most of my research, which stretches from written language to visual language.
Currently, I am part of the Visual Language Lab, led by Neil Cohn, which explores the understanding of visual narratives and the structural patterns that underlie this form of storytelling. You can read more about this project here!
My own focus within this project is the depiction of a character’s thoughts, feelings, or other mental (private) experiences, like flashbacks, dreams, and imagination. Readers are surprisingly good at understanding these types of events, given that they need to infer meaning that is typically not explicitly shown.
I investigate what cues may help readers understand these events, and to what extent those cues follow fixed patterns.
My background is in (cognitive) linguistics, literature, stylistics, and cognition of visual narratives. In these fields, my work focused on inferences, metaphors, conceptual blending, and point of view. These topics are mostly associated with verbal languages but turn out to be just as rich in visual languages!
Before my work on visual communication, I investigated the effect of written language on mental imagery. This collaborative work has been published in the book Picturing Fiction through Embodied Cognition: Drawn Representations and Viewpoint in Literary Texts.
You can find the book here.