David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (3):560-578 (2011)
This experiment investigated the effect of format (line vs. bar), viewers’ familiarity with variables, and viewers’ graphicacy (graphical literacy) skills on the comprehension of multivariate (three variable) data presented in graphs. Fifty-five undergraduates provided written descriptions of data for a set of 14 line or bar graphs, half of which depicted variables familiar to the population and half of which depicted variables unfamiliar to the population. Participants then took a test of graphicacy skills. As predicted, the format influenced viewers’ interpretations of data. Specifically, viewers were more likely to describe x–y interactions when viewing line graphs than when viewing bar graphs, and they were more likely to describe main effects and “z–y” (the variable in the legend) interactions when viewing bar graphs than when viewing line graphs. Familiarity of data presented and individuals’ graphicacy skills interacted with the influence of graph format. Specifically, viewers were most likely to generate inferences only when they had high graphicacy skills, the data were familiar and thus the information inferred was expected, and the format supported those inferences. Implications for multivariate data display are discussed
|Keywords||Graph comprehension Display design Individual differences|
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Citations of this work BETA
Barbara Tversky (2011). Visualizing Thought. Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (3):499-535.
Andrew F. Heckler & Thomas M. Scaife (2015). Patterns of Response Times and Response Choices to Science Questions: The Influence of Relative Processing Time. Cognitive Science 39 (3):496-537.
Robert L. Goldstone, Franco Pestilli & Katy Börner (2015). Self-Portraits of the Brain: Cognitive Science, Data Visualization, and Communicating Brain Structure and Function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19 (8):462-474.
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