March 10, 2013

"Cartoons were already my nemesis. I didn’t like them, although they were ubiquitous on TV...."

"Was that because I wasn’t interested? Or was it because I was repelled, or because I was particularly cartoon-challenged? Probably a combination of all three, because the phenomenon persisted into adulthood and involved even some cartoons whose content didn’t especially repel me....  Sometimes there’s too much going on visually in cartoons, too; I get distracted. I sometimes fail to get the joke in non-animated cartoon squares (like the ones in a magazine) because I focus on the wrong detail or misinterpret details in odd ways."

Ironically, I'm distracted by there being too much going on in this blog post. It combines the discussion of animated movies, single-panel New Yorker type cartoons, and comic strips. These are completely different to me.

The blogger (Neo-Neocon) has a special problem with the way panels in a comic strip tell a story. (She was once given a devilish IQ test that required putting scrambled panels in the right order.) It that is your issue, read "Understanding Comics."

And I don't like mixing up the topic of scoring on an IQ test with appreciating a type of art. The example of the IQ question at the first link is such an ugly example of a comic strip. In or out of order, it's repellent. It's like having to edit an atrocious sentence. What does it prove?

30 comments:

Barry Dauphin said...

The subtest is called Picture Arrangement and is no longer used on either the WISC (Neo Neocon guessed right about which test she was given) or the adult version (WAIS-- both are now in 4th editions).

edutcher said...

Hmmm, I'm thinking the order would be subjective, not unlike a Rohrschact, and that there might not be only one answer.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, they had to manufacture a strip that could be scrambled and then had a right answer.

One more reason why it would be a bad comic and a person of taste and sensitivity would feel revulsion (which the test-makers won't have controlled for).

Barry Dauphin said...

For some of the cartoons there was one right answer (full credit), for others there were orders that would get partial credit. But it was not meant to be like the Rorschach.

Christy said...

I remember a whole bunch of tests in first grade that were comics. I always figured they were a pre-reading IQ test. They were lots of fun.

I hated Mickey mouse; Loved Mighty Mouse. Don't remember why.

Ann Althouse said...

I preferred Mighty Mouse too.

Mickey was a jerk.

Chip Ahoy said...

Hey Buddy, can you spare a dime? No, but you can have this apple. Okay, thanks for the apple. Now this is a stickup! Give me all your money, you liar. Caught me, here's my money too. And let that be a lesson, don't ever lie to the needy. Fine, you could at least give me back my apple. Here's your apple back now I feel like shit.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Slaps knee. That's a good one. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Ann Althouse said...

Chip scores well on that section! Perfect explanation.

Synova said...

3,1,5,4,2

Man gives bum an apple.
Bum doesn't want the apple, takes out a gun and demands money.
Man gives bum money.
Bum has money and apple.
Bum gives apple to the man, pretends it's a fair exchange of the apple for money and not extortion.

(That interpretation of the last frame likely means I'm a libertarian.)

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

I preferred Mighty Mouse too.

Mickey was a jerk.


Mickey was kind of Everyman. Donald was Psycho Duck.

My affinity was always with the Looney Tunes guys.

Mighty Mouse, well, I can see where girls might like him.

EDH said...

Who are you to judge, maybe as a young child she was molested by Clutch Cargo and it left a scar?

The Horror.

Astro said...

Sometimes there’s too much going on visually in cartoons, too; I get distracted.

Those really old cartoons from the 30s and 40s were full of movement. Walls shake, flowers dance, rocks bounce, forest critters wave their paws, etc. Neo-Neocon must really have a problem with them.

I wonder if she's one of those people that has trouble recognizing faces.

And yeah, 3,1,5,4,2 makes sense. I don't see any other combinations making a logical flow. The logic is aided by the items in the robber's pocket.

Jeff Gee said...

The idea of being distracted by too much stuff going on visually is interesting. It's definitely not the way I'm wired. I always liked the stuff happening in the margins or background of the early MAD magazine panels and felt it made them endlessly re-readable (or re-lookable?) In a moving image it could be annoying, I guess, but I can't think of any cartoons where I had that problem. I wonder of her 'uncanny valley' happens to be a lot wider than the average?

wyo sis said...

I couldn't do it.
Both Synova and Chip Ahoy's explanations are better than anything I could come up with.

Robert Cook said...

The problem with that scrambled cartoon was that it was so badly drawn it's hard to figure the fuck out what's happening in some of the frames!

Kohath said...

It proves that you can piece together a simple narrative from visual clues in a scene. The ability to do that apparently relates to intelligence. If you can't do it, then, should the need arise, you'll have to ask someone else with more ability to do it for you.

If you can't do it because you have emotional or other problems with the subject matter then your "intelligence" in this area is handicapped by those problems. You're in the same boat as the guy who "just doesn't get it", but you got there another way.

Spoiler alert: 3 1 5 4 2

betamax3000 said...

"Elmer Fudd's underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around his legs and intermittent Rabbits of sweat raced willy-nilly across his back."

Saint Croix said...

That's an interesting test. It's not a measure of "intelligence" but rather measures aptitude.

People's brains work in different ways. That test is a measure of your ability to think visually. Do you see the clues and can you decipher them?

I got 3-1-4-5-2, but Synova is right.

Saint Croix said...

I took a bunch of similar tests in Atlanta once as part of a career assessment. They would measure your scores against a database of people in various fields of work.

The tests were fascinating, unlike any tests I've ever had.

The writing test seemed normal. They asked a question, and you wrote a response.

But the test was "scored" by how many words you wrote in response. The higher the number of words you used, the higher your score.

If your answer had more words than 95% of people, they would suggest you pursue a career in various writing fields.

It seems really odd to judge writing without reading what people say! But they aren't judging the quality of your work. The theory is that the number of words you produce is a good indicator of how much you like to write.

I had what they call a legal brain, a critical brain, the brain of an editor or a lawyer. Not a writer's brain!

We did another "test" involving blocks that you have to put together to form an object. I scored in the bottom 5% on that one.

People who score high in that test have an engineering brain. People like me don't see spatially. It takes us forever to put blocks together.

You can of course train your brain in different fields. Go to law school, you'll develop critical skills. Go to film school, you'll learn to think visually. But if your brain is already "wired" a certain way, you've got an advantage over other people.

David said...

The key to solving the IQ problem is to ignore the good-bad signs, your feelings and the happy or unhappy ending issues and focus solely on who has possession of the apple, the money, the gun and when. The order is not subjective when you eliminate the idea of moral ordering or moral outcome. In fact it's an easy problem on that basis.

I'm not sure what that tells you about IQ questions and scores, but it's not uplifting.

Darleen said...

I preferred Mighty Mouse too.

I have a friend who is a screen writer. One of the studios asked him to write up a story line for a Mighty Mouse movie. So he went back and watched a bunch of the cartoons

and realized there isn't really any there there.

Very thin gruel to try and make a movie.

Alex said...

The problem with political cartoons is everything is dumbed down. No real issues are every explored. Just gotcha politics.

Synova said...

SaintCroix, was it more unique words or more words? Because if it was simply more words I'd think that would mean you were a poorer writer, not a better one. But more unique words might not mean you're a better writer either because writing clearly often means not challenging a reader's vocabulary limits.

David Davenport said...

It's not a measure of "intelligence" but rather measures aptitude.

Define "intelligence."

A person whose verbal manifestations are terse and succinct but who scores high on tests of geometrical reasoning and rotation of objects in three dimensions -- is that person unintelligent?

Fill in the blanks: _____ -Americans suffer the stereotype of being good at math, not so gifted verbally, whereas _____-Americans tend to have the best verbal skills of any ethnic group, although they may not be the top scorers in tests of visio-spatial aptitude*.

* Visio-spatial or geometric or 3-D aptitude overlaps with but is apparently not the same as abstract mathematical ability.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

David Davenport,

Fill in the blanks: _____ -Americans suffer the stereotype of being good at math, not so gifted verbally, whereas _____-Americans tend to have the best verbal skills of any ethnic group, although they may not be the top scorers in tests of visio-spatial aptitude*.

So the group you want us to put in the first blank "suffers the stereotype" of being good at something. The group you want put in the second blank actually does (according to you) have "the best [...] skills of any ethnic group." It just appears not to "suffer the stereotype" of actually being really, really super good.

Tell me, who was it you wanted us to put in the first blank, and who in the second? And is there any ethnic group that you would say actually does have superior skill in math, the way your second group (again, according to you) actually does have superior skill with words?

Saint Croix said...

SaintCroix, was it more unique words or more words?

Just a word count. Incredibly simplistic criteria!

Because if it was simply more words I'd think that would mean you were a poorer writer, not a better one.

I agree! But they weren't judging the quality of the writer (or thinker).

The top 5% on this test was dominated by people in writing fields. Thus, if you were in the top 5%, the writing field might be a good place for you.

Kind of like a dating service more than a test. Trying to find matches, as opposed to a test of knowledge.

Robert Cook said...

Synova said...

"SaintCroix, was it more unique words or more words? Because if it was simply more words I'd think that would mean you were a poorer writer, not a better one."

Not at all. They test isn't measuring how succinct a writer one might be, or how carefully crafted one's prose...these are largely aesthetic judgments outside the scope of an aptitude test.

The test simply attempts measure one's propensity for communication and expression of thought. A person who uses fewer words to answer a question may be a "better" writer than the one who uses more--although spare prose is usually the work of heavy pruning--but he or she may also be less easily able or inclined to express complex thoughts or provide thorough answers to questions. Thus, they would rank lower on aptitude for communications.

Rusty said...

Some people are just bad at seeing patterns. Either spacial or lines or textures. It's no reflection on intelligence since, I think, it's something we learn.

mikeski said...

Of course pattern recognition is a measure of intelligence. It's just not the only measure, nor the only type of intelligence.

I'm an engineer, and it's one of the types of intelligence my job (manufacturability of microchips) absolutely requires. It's not exclusively a learned thing (though, like all things, training and practice can help). Some engineers can pick it up almost instinctively, others never seem to get it.

I usually put it this way: would you want to listen to Einstein's symphonies or work on Beethoven's nuke plans? "Intelligence" is not a single number, Dungeons and Dragons notwithstanding.

Alex said...

Einstein had a genius for math, Beethoven had a genius for music. They are not the same thing, even though some people want to conflate the two.