Comics are a form of literature deeply rooted in Mexican culture, representing in 2002 around 34% of the total publications in Mexico (CANIEM). Comics are an interesting means to convey information as they include narrative as well as pictorial forms of representation. Narratives and images facilitate learning thanks to the schemas that individuals possess from both means of communication as well as to the emotional response that they evoke. Additionally, images and narratives contribute to learning because they act as mnemonic elements that prevail in the long term memory.

In México AIDS has been considered a national health problem (SSA). There are simple measures to prevent contagion and comics could represent a media in which information can be presented in the context of daily life and therefore understanding and learning can be facilitated. In this research we suggest that popular comics can be used as a tool to communicate scientific medical information to large public in a more efficient way than the classical paradigmatic representation. Our objectives were (1) to develop different types of comic strips to communicate information about HIV to the general public and (2) to assess its impact on learning information in the public consumer of this product. In this paper we report the results of our research regarding the efficiency of a collection of comics with scientific content regarding HIV and designed purposely for this research. The comics were designed using the same style and format of the most popular comics in México and the narratives were based on real stories (told by adults infected with HIV). The narratives included the following topics on HIV: information regarding preventive measures, risk practices, diagnose and treatment. We used the RIRC method (Negrete 2001) in order to assess individual’s ability to retell, identify, remember and contextualize scientific information presented to them in narrative format.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Popular comic strips as a tool to communicate hiv medical information

Aquiles Negrete   CEIICH‐UNAM

Laura Vargas‐Parada   UNIVERSUM‐UNAM

Comics are a form of literature deeply rooted in Mexican culture, representing in 2002 around 34% of the total publications in Mexico (CANIEM). Comics are an interesting means to convey information as they include narrative as well as pictorial forms of representation. Narratives and images facilitate learning thanks to the schemas that individuals possess from both means of communication as well as to the emotional response that they evoke. Additionally, images and narratives contribute to learning because they act as mnemonic elements that prevail in the long term memory.

In México AIDS has been considered a national health problem (SSA). There are simple measures to prevent contagion and comics could represent a media in which information can be presented in the context of daily life and therefore understanding and learning can be facilitated. In this research we suggest that popular comics can be used as a tool to communicate scientific medical information to large public in a more efficient way than the classical paradigmatic representation. Our objectives were (1) to develop different types of comic strips to communicate information about HIV to the general public and (2) to assess its impact on learning information in the public consumer of this product. In this paper we report the results of our research regarding the efficiency of a collection of comics with scientific content regarding HIV and designed purposely for this research. The comics were designed using the same style and format of the most popular comics in México and the narratives were based on real stories (told by adults infected with HIV). The narratives included the following topics on HIV: information regarding preventive measures, risk practices, diagnose and treatment. We used the RIRC method (Negrete 2001) in order to assess individual’s ability to retell, identify, remember and contextualize scientific information presented to them in narrative format.

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