The discipline of semiotics examines overt and covert communication, investigating sometimes hidden messages as signs of something more profound. Medieval literature was written to be understood on both the literal level of the story and on a higher level of a moral or allegorical message. Representational art can be appreciated by reflecting not only on the image but also on a deeper message it may convey. The articles that comprise the 2012 JAMA medical education theme issue can also be considered on 2 levels.
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