Viewing and Comprehension of TV Cartoon with Audio Description: A study of Visually Impaired Students


Yaly Chao


the visually impaired, TV cartoon, audio description, TV viewing strategies, schemata and cognitive system


This study is aimed at examining the differences of viewing effects on television cartoon program with and without audio description and its association with demographic feature among the visually impaired students from both Taipei and Taichung Chi-min Blind Schools.

Since cartoons are simple in content and rich in audio messages, the re- sults show that the visually impaired students are able to partially compre- hend the episodes by the audio messages while “viewing” without audio de- scription. However, whether audio clues or messages could be effectively received by the visually impaired still depend on whether the visual clues are sufficient. This is exactly what audio description is aimed to assist.

As to the cognitive behavior of cartoon comprehension, the visually impaired students tend to employ the “imagery code” as a means to construct and process information. This is associated with the viewing behaviors of TV children programs and variety show while viewing without audio description. Comparatively, the same students would switch to the “propositional code” of information processing and comprehension mechanism which is associated with TV film and soap opera viewing. In addition, a significant negative correlation was found associating the variables of parents’ education levels and TV literacy of the visually impaired students.

Therefore, a few important considerations would be to know “how to precisely grasp the television comprehension mechanism of the visually im- paired students?” “how to promote their visual media literacy by providing them with more sufficient stimulus of visual knowledge via interest and amusement of a story?”. Furthermore, this paper proposes to create a so- called network effects of “intertexuality”, in addition to making the story of audio description more understandable for the visually impaired.

Furthermore, the purposes of audio description not only be aimed to as- sist the visually impaired comprehend the content of the audio descriptive TV programs but also in conquering an obstacle and thereby engaging in a complete understanding and participation to the substance of the public space.