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In this chapter Jolyon Mitchell analyses how audiences, journalists and producers interact with media representations of violence. More precisely he examines the practices of revealing, representing, redacting, remembering, and responding to mediated images of violence, using a wide range of examples from different media. While recognizing the power of vivid journalistic written and verbal descriptions of violence, through this essay Mitchell primarily considers visual representations over the last two centuries, starting from the 1810s, in the decade before the first photograph (c.1826), to the present day, concentrating upon non-cinematic examples, such as photographic portrayals of non-fictional violence. Other practices such as hiding, selecting, overlooking, forgetting and recollecting are juxtaposed with these core practices of revealing, representing, redacting, remembering and responding. Mitchell argues that these related practices contribute to the way violence manifests itself around the circuit of communication, which begins with acts of creation and production of images of violence, and which is then followed by their dissemination, reception and recycling. Reflecting further on this circuit of communication and these related practices helps answer questions such as: Why do certain images of violence receive more attention than others? Why are some media representations of violence remembered and others easily forgotten?
The theme of violence is largely represented in the visual media of ancient Mesopotamia and Syria, from ancient times (fourth millennium BCE) up to the periods of the great empires of Assyria and Babylonia in the first millennium CE. Violent scenes, mostly related to war, principally show the punishment and killing of enemies according to recurrent visual topoi – such as beheading, beating, impalement, blinding, cutting and amputation of limbs – on different media, from cylinder seals to inlays and larger reliefs. This chapter seeks to point out the differing nature of the visual documents and contexts where scenes of violence on monuments and pictures were eventually shown, displayed and thus perceived, and will analyse the representation of violence accordingly, taking into consideration the use of violence within the religious and political spheres and pointing to cultural differences across time as a reflection of the political system.
Mesopotamia, Syria, ritual, sacred violence, warfare, prisoners of war, rituals of war, visual narrative, visibility, audience
This chapter examines the role of apocalyptic thought during the Renaissance, which was marked by both continuity with medieval apocalypticism and innovation. It includes consideration of its impact on sober humanist scholarship, fierce Reformation debates regarding the papacy, apocalyptic optimism associated with exploration and missionary expansion in the New World, and esoteric speculation about the figure of Enoch.
Chapter 2 explores the material properties of royal correspondence, focussing on evidence that correlates with the scribal/holograph provenance of the texts. Five features are examined in a corpus of over 100 royal letters issued by the Tudor monarchs: material provenance markers, handwriting, page orientation, signature placement, and signature style. The chapter finds that royal scribal letters have distinctive material features that make their royal source explicit, with these characteristics used very consistently throughout the Tudor period. Holograph royal letters show a reduced propensity to follow these material codes, and instead show a greater individuality more typical of non-royal letter-writing in the period. The differences are proposed to arise from the different production processes of the letter types, affecting the degree of institutionalised power presented to the letter's recipient. Elizabeth's correspondence shows a wider variation in material choices than that of her predecessors, potentially indicative of shifts in how correspondence was utilised, and the values placed on holograph writing by the end of the sixteenth century.
The Molyneux problem is a question about the nature of sensory perception that was first posed by William Molyneux, the founder of the Dublin Philosophical Society, in correspondence with the English philosopher John Locke in 1688. The problem asks whether a blind man who has learned to distinguish between different shapes by his sense of touch alone would be able, upon having his vision restored, to make the same distinctions using only his sense of sight. Molyneux’s question has been called the most important problem in the history of Irish philosophy, and the reason for its significance is the wide variety of epistemological, theological, linguistic, and aesthetic considerations to which it gave rise. This chapter identifies and documents the major stages in the early development of Molyneux’s problem in eighteenth-century Ireland, England, and France. Along the way, the chapter draws on contemporary religious analogies, surgical evidence, and fictional experiments in order to bring a new perspective to current debates about the meaning of ‘Enlightenment’ in eighteenth-century Irish intellectual culture.
Ekphrasis is the poetic device of describing one type of art within another, best exemplified by the Homeric “Shield of Achilles.” Ekphrasis is seen as a special element of the epic genre which often has metapoetic meaning.
Many think of the difference between sensation and perception in terms of information – perception carries information, but sensations, the raw feels that occur prior to perception, do not. A standard, biological account of information holds that it occurs only for information consumers. How is it that sensations become informational, and to whom do they become informational? In this chapter I argue that perception comes about due to attention directed by a subject. Attention is the process by which sensations are organized according to the subject’s interests, allowing them to have meaning for the subject, or to become informational for the subject. I compare this account to those that find attention to be necessary for the binding of features into objects, the creation of an objective spatial framework, or perceptual knowledge. I reject the first two accounts, ultimately arguing for a similar conclusion to those in the third, such as Campbell and Dickie. Experiential support for my account is the universal foreground/background structure of conscious perception, a structure that I argue depends on attention. Along the way I discuss at length the work of Treisman and Merleau-Ponty.
The introduction argues that American literature participates in American culture’s ongoing quest for immediacy, that the effort to generate ever-new reality effects has sparked the innovation of new literary techniques and forms, and that a common strategy American writers have used since the nineteenth century to create texts of greater immediacy has been to study and rework the reality effects of photography, film, and television. The chapter defines immediacy as a culturally and historically situated effect that indicates how the relation between reality and representation as well as between knowledge and mediation is construed in a given culture. In media history, claims to immediacy play a central role in the competition and alignment between media. The introduction shows that literature participates in this dynamic and promotes an understanding of literature as a medium rather than an art form. The chapter argues that literary studies will produce more complex accounts of literary history if it reconceptualizes the dynamics of literary experimentation and innovation from a comparative media perspective. The introduction also outlines the book’s chapters.
This study investigated age differences in false memory for visual scenes and the effect of immediate recall on subsequent recognition. Eighty children (7–9 years), 74 adolescents (14–16 years), 92 young adults (19–26 years) and 82 older adults (50–80 years) studied four visual scenes and then took a recognition test after either a free-recall task or a filler task. Results showed an age-related decline in false recognition for visual scenes, but this trend was eliminated when participants were asked to free-recall before recognition. Prior recall decreased false recognition in children, but increased false recognition in older adults. Across the lifespan, adolescents had the loosest criterion, children had the lowest false recall, and prior recall increased true recognition in older adults.
We present OntoScene, a framework aimed at understanding the semantics of visual scenes starting from the semantics of their elements and the spatial relations holding between them. OntoScene exploits ontologies for representing knowledge and Prolog for specifying the interpretation rules that domain experts may adopt, and for implementing the SceneInterpreter engine. Ontologies allow the designer to formalize the domain in a reusable way and make the system modular and interoperable with existing multiagent systems, while Prolog provides a solid basis to define complex rules of interpretation in a way that can be affordable even for people with no background in Computational Logics. The domain selected for experimenting OntoScene is that of prehistoric rock art, which provides us with a fascinating and challenging testbed.
The dopamine transporter gene (DAT1), striatal network dysfunction, and visual memory deficits have been consistently reported to be associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to examine the effects of the DAT1 rs27048 (C)/rs429699 (T) haplotype on striatal functional connectivity and visual memory performance in youths with ADHD.
After excluding those who had excessive head motion, a total of 96 drug-naïve youths with ADHD and 114 typically developing (TD) youths were assessed with the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and the delayed matching to sample (DMS) task for visual memory. We examined the effects of ADHD, DAT1 CT haplotype, and the ADHD × CT haplotype interaction on the functional connectivity of five striatal seeds. We also correlated visual memory performance with the functional connectivity of striatal subregions, which showed significant diagnosis × genotype interactions.
Compared with TD youths, ADHD youths showed significant hypoconnectivity of the left dorsal caudate (DC) with bilateral sensorimotor clusters. Significant diagnosis × genotype interactions were found in the connectivity between the left DC and the right sensorimotor cluster, and between the right DC and the left dorsolateral prefrontal/bilateral anterior cingulate clusters. Furthermore, the connectivity of the left DC showing significant diagnosis × genotype interactions was associated with DMS performance in youths with ADHD who carried the DAT1 CT haplotype.
A novel gene-brain-behavior association between the left DC functional connectivity and visual memory performance in ADHD youths with the DAT1 rs27048 (C)/rs429699 (T) haplotype suggests a differential effect of DAT1 genotype altering specific brain function causing neuropsychological dysfunction in ADHD.
Language is full of ambiguities, ranging from challenging phonetic contrasts to homophones and homographs. While some ambiguity is inherent in any language, the challenge of resolving linguistic conflicts is even greater for those who speak multiple languages. The question of how bilinguals represent and control their two languages has been addressed using various methodologies ranging from case studies of multilingual aphasics to advanced neuroimaging techniques. In this chapter, we focus on two methods in particular that have contributed to the understanding of bilingual cognition. First, we review evidence from eye-tracking studies demonstrating that bilinguals activate their two languages in parallel. We follow with a discussion of fMRI research investigating whether different languages have shared or separate representations in the brain. Finally, we examine the processes underlying language control and discuss the ways in which different methodologies can contribute to our understanding of bilingual language processing.
Chapter 3 explores the material world of the nuns as part of the intense rebuilding and architectural remodelling programmes embarked upon in mainland Europe after the Council of Trent. Again, the English convents sought to engage with the wider secular world, in this instance using the decoration of their public churches, as well as the vessels and fabrics used in the celebration of the liturgy, to convey how they wished to be viewed by the surrounding populace. Though they used their outward liturgical faces to support their national identity, far more stress was placed on their strong identification with their Order, emphasising their role as part of the universal Church. Material culture in each institution was aimed at developing the nuns’ spiritual lives in adherence with Tridentine rules on behaviour and management. The second half of the chapter focuses on the more private spaces in which the enclosed inhabitants lived their daily lives, yet, as was the case in other early modern European convents, the secular permeated enclosure through various material reminders. It is argued that exile did not mean poverty of material culture.
As an artist working in multiple fields, I am suggesting in this chapter, which is also a reader’s memoir, that paying homage to Cormac McCarthy’s work in paint and in performance is also a form of reading McCarthy. In proposing this expanded view of what it is to read and thus to grapple with a masterwork, I am positing a wider of view of the pleasure and purpose of reading, and I am allowing that responding to McCarthy’s work in this way – because it entails the responsibility to grasp at least something of what is intrinsic about the work – also constitutes a form of criticism, a notion I have explored in all three of the books I have published on McCarthy. Painting a series called The Lost Blood Meridian Notebook entails challenges and confusions in many ways comparable to trying to write compellingly about that novel, and performing the part of White in The Sunset Limited is equally as demanding as writing about it, for the actor is the word made flesh in the act of becoming one of McCarthy’s characters and thus of becoming both the reader and the read.
A higher intake of food rich in flavonoids such as quercetin can reduce the risk of CVD. Enzymatically modified isoquercitrin (EMIQ®) has a bioavailability 17-fold higher than quercetin aglycone and has shown potential CVD moderating effects in animal studies. The present study aimed to determine whether acute ingestion of EMIQ® improves endothelial function, blood pressure (BP) and cognitive function in human volunteers at risk of CVD. Twenty-five participants (twelve males and thirteen females) with at least one CVD risk factor completed this randomised, controlled, crossover study. In a random order, participants were given EMIQ® (2 mg aglycone equivalent)/kg body weight or placebo alongside a standard breakfast meal. Endothelial function, assessed by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery was measured before and 1·5 h after intervention. BP, arterial stiffness, cognitive function, BP during cognitive stress and measures of quercetin metabolites, oxidative stress and markers of nitric oxide (NO) production were assessed post-intervention. After adjustment for pre-treatment measurements and treatment order, EMIQ® treatment resulted in a significantly higher FMD response compared with the placebo (1·80 (95 % CI 0·23, 3·37) %; P = 0·025). Plasma concentrations of quercetin metabolites were significantly higher (P < 0·001) after EMIQ® treatment compared with the placebo. No changes in BP, arterial stiffness, cognitive function or biochemical parameters were observed. In this human intervention study, the acute administration of EMIQ® significantly increased circulating quercetin metabolites and improved endothelial function. Further clinical trials are required to assess whether health benefits are associated with long-term EMIQ® consumption.
In early twentieth-century France, syphilis and its controversial status as a hereditary disease reigned as a chief concern for physicians and public health officials. As syphilis primarily presented visually on the surface of the skin, its study fell within the realms of both dermatologists and venereologists, who relied heavily on visual evidence in their detection, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. Thus, in educational textbooks, atlases, and medical models, accurately reproducing the visible signposts of syphilis – the colour, texture, and patterns of primary chancres or secondary rashes – was of preeminent importance. Photography, with its potential claims to mechanical objectivity, would seem to provide the logical tool for such representations.
Yet photography’s relationship to syphilographie warrants further unpacking. Despite the rise of a desire for mechanical objectivity charted in the late nineteenth century, artist-produced, three-dimensional, wax-cast moulages coexisted with photographs as significant educational tools for dermatologists; at times, these models were further mediated through photographic reproduction in texts. Additionally, the rise of phototherapy complicated this relationship by fostering the clinical equation of the light-sensitive photographic plate with the patient’s skin, which became the photographic record of disease and successful treatment. This paper explores these complexities to delineate a more nuanced understanding of objectivity vis-à-vis photography and syphilis. Rather than a desire to produce an unbiased image, fin-de-siècle dermatologists marshalled the photographic to exploit the verbal and visual rhetoric of objectivity, authority, and persuasion inextricably linked to culturally constructed understandings of the photograph. This rhetoric was often couched in the Peircean concept of indexicality, which physicians formulated through the language of witness, testimony, and direct connection.
Several studies agree on the link between attention and eye movements during reading. It has been well established that attention and working memory (WM) interact. A question that could be addressed to better understand these relationships is: to what extent can an attention deficit affect eye movements and, consequently, remembering a word? The main aims of the present study were (1) to compare visual patterns of word stimuli between children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and typically developing (TD) children, during a visual task on word stimuli; (2) to examine the WM accuracy of the word stimuli; and (3) to compare the dynamic of visual scan path in both groups.
A total of 49 children with ADHD, age and sex matched with 32 TD children, were recruited. We used eye-tracking technology in which the Word Memory Test was implemented. To highlight the scan path of participants, two measures were used: the ordered direction of reading and the entropy index.
ADHD groups showed a poorer WM than TD group. They did not follow a typical scan path across the words compared with TD children, but their visual scanning was discontinuous, uncoordinated, and chaotic. ADHD groups showed an index of entropy among the four categories of saccades higher than TD group.
The findings were discussed in light of two directions: the relationship between atypical visual scan path and WM and the training implications related to the necessity of redirecting the dynamic of visual scan path in ADHD to improve WM.
Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) is a promising therapeutic option for major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. Alternative third-line treatments for MDD in adolescents are scarce. Here we aimed to assess the effects of acute tVNS on emotion recognition in adolescents with MDD.
Adolescents (14–17 years) with MDD (n = 33) and non-depressed controls (n = 30) received tVNS or sham-stimulation in a cross-sectional, case–control, within-subject cross-randomized controlled trial, while performing different tasks assessing emotion recognition. Correct responses, response times, and errors of omission and commission on three different computerized emotion recognition tasks were assessed as main outcomes. Simultaneous recordings of electrocardiography and electro dermal activity, as well as sampling of saliva for the determination of α-amylase, were used to quantify the effects on autonomic nervous system function.
tVNS had no effect on the recognition of gradually or static expressed emotions but altered response inhibition on the emotional Go/NoGo-task. Specifically, tVNS increased the likelihood of omitting a response toward sad target-stimuli in adolescents with MDD, while decreasing errors (independent of the target emotion) in controls. Effects of acute tVNS on autonomic nervous system function were found in non-depressed controls only.
Acute tVNS alters the recognition of briefly presented facial expressions of negative valence in adolescents with MDD while generally increasing emotion recognition in controls. tVNS seems to specifically alter early visual processing of stimuli of negative emotional valence in MDD. These findings suggest a potential therapeutic benefit of tVNS in adolescent MDD that requires further evaluation within clinical trials.
This article proposes the methodological framework of visual narrative analysis through the study of images and narratives. We are interested in the appeal of political storytelling. In applying an approach of layered interpretation, we study images and slogans to consider the more complex underlying narratives in their political and cultural context. Our exploratory case studies draw on material from right-wing populist parties, namely election campaign posters from Germany and the UK as material for the analysis. We find that narratives operate with a ‘fantasmatic logic’, which adds fantasy to politics, to depoliticise and camouflage their radical intent and gain approval by making consent desirable. We identify two exemplary narratives (honest men under threat; proud mothers) that entrench traditional gender roles in accordance with patriarchy and nationalism. Theoretically, our approach contributes to debates in IR on cultural underpinnings in international politics and the construction of collective identities through shared/divided narratives. Visual narrative analysis provides a promising methodological tool for analysing visual representations in their productive relationship with text. This perspective foregrounds the power of political storytelling through fantasmatic appeal and fosters a better understanding of the global rise of populism.
Aging-related changes in visual sensory processing, visual perception, and visuospatial cognition are well documented and contribute to substantial disability in the older adult population. This chapter reviews neuropsychological and neurobiological bases of disorders of face recognition, form perception, object recognition, mental/spatial imagery, spatial memory, and environmental navigation, and discusses how the aging process affects functional brain systems underlying these complex disorders.