Study Links Comics With Better Memory Retention

posted on 2013-02-17 23:36 EST

A recent study at the University of Oklahoma looked into how readers remember study material when presented with information in a textbook versus a graphic novel format. 140 graduate students in a strategic management class were given the same study information in two forms: in a textbook and in Atlas Black: The Complete Adventure graphic novel. They were then tested on what they read.

Results showed that both sets of students absorbed the information equally well, but those who read the graphic novels had better verbatim recall, while 80 percent of students in a companion study felt the graphic novel approach "compared favorably" to the traditional textbook.

The study was created by Jeremy Short, strategic management chair of OU's Price College of Business and the author of Atlas Black books, a graphic novel series that teaches management concepts to graduate students.

“Our study suggests that graphic story telling can serve as a powerful tool in higher education compared to the traditional textbook,” Short said. “My experiences suggest that such evidence is useful in convincing folks in higher education that can be slow to warm to somewhat unorthodox instructional methods.”

Neil Cohen of has looked into similar topics, including a published study in Frontiers in Psychology - Cultural Psychology titled "Framing attention in Japanese and American comics."

Graphic novels and manga-inspired guides that teach religious and academic topics include Tyndale House Publishers' Christian manga publications, No Starch Press' non-fiction manga guides, and Japanese publisher Chukei's academic study guides.

Source: Publishers Weekly

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