Do we perceive images in text reading direction?

I received a graphic in a presentation with equally weighted items in it. Their order did not match my expectation, so I started to wonder why that would be. Finally I figured out that I was reading them in text reading direction and that order did not match the order in which the text explained them. Therefore my question is:

In case a graphic has no special points of interest, do we tend to read images in text reading order, i.e. from top to bottom and left to right? What is the reason for it?

As a consequence

  • I would make the proposal to change the order of elements to match the sequence they were explained in the text
  • I might need to update some images in another project where they are used in context of a right to left language.

From my personal try with the following picture, I agree to this theory. I stared at the middle first, not finding anything useful, then starting from top left to bottom right. Side question: is this test ok or did I make a mistake designing the test?

Test image


I think the test is incorrect. These are not images but letters. It’s normal for our minds to try and read the letters although they are separated in boxes. If they are actual pictures, I think we wouldn’t “read” them in any particular order but instantly see the one that is most interesting to us. Size would also play part here. If the images are big enough to look at their detail, we would scan them in a more chaotic order than if they were small and lacking detail.
I think the correct way to study this topic is to display a matrix of images for a brief time (1-2 seconds) and ask the participants to remember what they saw. If they remember the top left picture you can prove your point. My bet is they would remember images that are near the center. I also think that they would scan LtR if they are asked to remember as much as possible. They would try to make an array of images by remembering them LtR.

Source : Link , Question Author : Thomas Weller , Answer Author : Komental

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