Dimensions of Visual Literacy

Monografia Vlastná monografia 13. 07. 2020, Božena Šupšáková

In our publication, we agree with the opinions of the postmodern investigators claiming the contemporary culture becomes the visual culture, in particular thanks to the new sense of geographic and social mobility. It covers many medial forms, from high fine-art through photography, film, television, advertising, up to visual data and schemes in the field of science, engineering, medicine and law. The cumulative consequences of the impact of visual culture on the patterns of perception are demonstrated by the fact that we can see more and in more efficient way on one hand, yet on the other hand it seems we are losing the ability of a certain type of vision – the deeper, immersed, focused one – that is required and provided by, for example, a piece of art. Using the words of Kesner, "we perceive the objects somehow tenuously“ . Media many times force their seeing of the world, their own pace, on spectators. By giving precedence to images over words, they lead rather to the dramatization of a story or event than to the creation of terms. Thus new meanings are generated within a group of people or in a society, individuals are able to perceive them on the basis of visual, auditory and text expressions, as well as on the basis of the way they participate in the development of symbolism and communication. It is important how they can process them, emotionally experience them or reasonably respond to them. Thanks to their visual capacity – the ability to perceive the world using vision, or so to speak visual analyser and cognitive processes – they reach a great quantity of information, superficial in many cases, yet they always have the chance to select just some of it and to pay increased attention to the selected ones. The publication critically re-assesses and synthesises the hitherto known knowledge of the given issue and enriches it by new original cognition in the field of visual culture. Since we shift from verbal to visual perception and images form our everyday experience leading us to the development of new forms of perception, sensitivity, thinking and understanding of the world, we accentuate the necessity of visual literacy. In this regard, the publication brings the overview of several theories dealing with the problem in theory. It monothematically focuses on the visual literacy as the ability of an individual to develop meanings from everything he/she can see, to find the sense in everything he/she can perceive. The author defines the visual literacy as the form of critical thinking that increases the intellectual capacity and enables one to interpret the contents of visual images, to investigate the social impact of the visual pictures, to possess the ability of internal visualisation, to discuss about their meanings with the target group, to visually communicate, read and interpret the visual images, to create opinions of accuracy, validity and abundance of pictures. She states that one of the positive aspects is that several theoreticians are inclined to the opinion that art, philosophy, linguistics, psychology belongs also amongst the fundamental disciplines of visual literacy.



From a Word to a Picture 10

Visual Literacy as Multilayer Phenomenon 14

Visual Literacy – the Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary and Multidimensional

Space of Cognition 16

Visual Literacy – the Form of Critical Thinking 18


Visual Perception and the Ability to Recognise Reality 22

Phenomenal Sense and Relational Sense of Perception 24

„An Image in an Eye”, Visual Construction 26

Visual Intelligence – Active and Holistic Ability 32


Visual Thinking Expressed in Non-verbal Concepts 36

Visual Perception and Imagination 37

Visual Thinking and Creative Thinking 40


Visual Language and Communication 43

The Grammar of Visual Forms 45

The Real Existence of Visual Language? 47


Interface between Verbal and Visual Language 59

Dual-coding Theory 60

„Reading” the Pictures with Comprehension 64

The Effect of Visual Superiority, Image – Word Relation 79