Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Second Committee Member

David Copeland

Third Committee Member

Kris Gunawan

Fourth Committee Member

Jarret Keene

Number of Pages



The purpose of this research was to examine how different forms of media, in particular science comics and illustrated texts, contribute to different patterns of learning. While the standard illustrated text seen in a textbook has been a useful tool for instruction, science comics appear to be an alternative that could be used in lieu of media that use the traditional illustrated text format. The comic format, known more for its visual appeal to readers, is consistent with the principles of the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (Mayer, 2009), though comprehension may require different mechanisms (Cohn, 2013a). It was hypothesized that the joint processing of the narrative in the text and the visual narrative in the illustrations could make the comic format more effective for acquiring and remembering scientific information. Two experiments were conducted using explicit and inferential question types to compare performance between comics, illustrated texts, and text-only materials. Both verbatim and applied question types were included to see if performance changed based on the type of mental representation required to answer questions correctly. Image recognition checks revealed poor target-lure discrimination ability, which suggests that participants were not focusing on illustrated text images when presented. Null findings from these experiments may have implications for theory and future studies.


comics; memory; multimedia learning; situation model; visual narrative


Cognitive Psychology

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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