Often implicit in visual display design and development is a gold standard of photorealism. By approximating direct perception, photorealism appeals to users and designers by being both attractive and apparently effortless. The vexing result from numerous performance evaluations, though, is that increasing realism often impairs performance. Smallman and St. John (2005) labeled misplaced faith in realistic information display Naïve Realism and theorized it resulted from a triplet of folk fallacies about perception. Here, we illustrate issues associated with the wider trend (...) towards realism by focusing on a specific current trend for high-fidelity perspective view (3D) geospatial displays. In two experiments, we validated Naïve Realism for different terrain understanding tasks, explored whether certain individuals are particularly prone to Naïve Realism, and determined the ability of task feedback to mitigate Naïve Realism. Performance was measured for laying and judging a concealed route across realistic terrain shown in different display formats. Task feedback was either implicit, in Experiment 1, or explicit in Experiment 2. Prospective and retrospective intuitions about the best display formats for the tasks were recorded and then related to task performance and participant spatial ability. Participants generally intuited they would perform tasks better with more realism than they actually required. For example, counter to intuitions, lowering fidelity of the terrain display revealed the gross scene layout needed to lay a well-concealed route. Individuals of high spatial ability calibrated their intuitions with only implicit task feedback, whereas those of low spatial ability required salient, explicit feedback to calibrate their intuitions about display realism. Results are discussed in the wider context of applying perceptual science to display design, and combating folk fallacies. (shrink)
This chapter presents an overview of several recent developments in vision science, and outlines some of their implications for the management of visual attention in graphic displays. These include ways of sending attention to the right item at the right time, techniques to improve attentional efficiency, and possibilities for offloading some of the processing typically done by attention onto nonattentional mechanisms. In addition it is argued that such techniques not only allow more effective use to be made of visual (...) attention, but also open up new possibilities for human-machine interaction. (shrink)
The human sentence processor is able to make rapid predictions about upcoming linguistic input. For example, upon hearing the verb eat, anticipatory eye-movements are launched toward edible objects in a visual scene. However, the cognitive mechanisms that underlie anticipation remain to be elucidated in ecologically valid contexts. Previous research has, in fact, mainly used clip-art scenes and object arrays, raising the possibility that anticipatory eye-movements are limited to displays containing a small number of objects in a visually impoverished context. (...) In Experiment 1, we confirm that anticipation effects occur in real-world scenes and investigate the mechanisms that underlie such anticipation. In particular, we demonstrate that real-world scenes provide contextual information that anticipation can draw on: When the target object is not present in the scene, participants infer and fixate regions that are contextually appropriate. Experiment 2 investigates whether such contextual inference requires the co-presence of the scene, or whether memory representations can be utilized instead. The same real-world scenes as in Experiment 1 are presented to participants, but the scene disappears before the sentence is heard. We find that anticipation occurs even when the screen is blank, including when contextual inference is required. We conclude that anticipatory language processing is able to draw upon global scene representations to make contextual inferences. These findings are compatible with theories assuming contextual guidance, but posit a challenge for theories assuming object-based visual indices. (shrink)
Visual analytics is a new interdisciplinary field of study that calls for a more structured scientific approach to understanding the effects of interaction with complex graphical displays on human cognitive processes. Its primary goal is to support the design and evaluation of graphical information systems that better support cognitive processes in areas as diverse as scientific research and emergency management. The methodologies that make up this new field are as yet ill defined. This paper proposes a pathway for development (...) of visual analytics as a translational cognitive science that bridges fundamental research in human/computer cognitive systems and design and evaluation of information systems in situ. Achieving this goal will require the development of enhanced field methods for conceptual decomposition of human/computer cognitive systems that maps onto laboratory studies, and improved methods for conducting laboratory investigations that might better map onto real-world cognitive processes in technology-rich environments. (shrink)
A set of visual search experiments tested the proposal that focused attention is needed to detect change. Displays were arrays of rectangles, with the target being the item that continually changed its orientation or contrast polarity. Five aspects of performance were examined: linearity of response, processing time, capacity, selectivity, and memory trace. Detection of change was found to be a self-terminating process requiring a time that increased linearly with the number of items in the display. Capacity for orientation was (...) found to be about 5 items, a value comparable to estimates of attentional capacity. Observers were able to filter out both static and dynamic variations in irrelevant properties. Analysis also indicated a memory for previously-attended locations. These results support the hypothesis that the process needed to detect change is much the same as the attentional process needed to detect complex static patterns. Interestingly, the features of orientation and polarity were found to be handled in somewhat different ways. Taken together, these results not only provide evidence that focused attention is needed to see change, but also show that change detection itself can provide new insights into the nature of attentional processing. (shrink)
Self–other discrimination was investigated with point-light displays in which actions were presented with or without additional auditory information. Participants first executed different actions in time with music. In two subsequent experiments, they watched point-light displays of their own or another participant’s recorded actions, and were asked to identify the agent . Manipulations were applied to the visual information and to the auditory information . Results indicate that self-recognition was better than chance in all conditions and was highest when (...) observing relatively unconstrained patterns of movement. Auditory information did not increase accuracy even with the most ambiguous visual displays, suggesting that judgments of agent identity depend much more on motor cues than on auditory or audiovisual information. (shrink)
This study investigated attention to a spatial location using a new spatial preparation task. Participants responded to a target dot presented in the center of a display and ignored a distractor dot presented to the right or left of the center. In an attempt to vary the level of preparatory attention directed to the target, the distractor dot was presented prior to the onset time of the target and the relative frequency of distractor dots to target dots within a block (...) of trials was varied. The results from the first three experiments showed that when instructions induce weak preparatory attention to the target location, response times to a target on target-only trials increase substantially as the percentage of trials containing a distractor increases from 0 to 75%. In Experiments 2 and 3, instructions and display saliency were used to induce strong preparatory attention to the target location, resulting in almost constant response times across distractor percentages. Experiment 4 varied percentage of target trials in the absence of distractors, with the result that response times decreased as target trial percentage increased. Accounts of these data by early ''activity-based'' and late ''criterion-based'' attention theories are compared, and the early theory is given a more detailed description within the context of a cognitive neuroscience theory of attention. (shrink)
The notion that visual attention can operate over visual objects in addition to spatial locations has recently received much empirical support, but there has been relatively little empirical consideration of what can count as an `object' in the ®rst place. We have investi- gated this question in the context of the multiple object tracking paradigm, in which subjects must track a number of independently and unpredictably moving identical items in a ®eld of identical distractors. What types of feature clusters can (...) be tracked in this manner? In other words, what counts as an `object' in this task? We investigated this question with a technique we call target merging: we alter tracking displays so that distinct target and distractor loca- tions appear perceptually to be parts of the same object by merging pairs of items (one target with one distractor) in various ways ± for example, by connecting item locations with a simple line segment, by drawing the convex hull of the two items, and so forth. The data show that target merging makes the tracking task far more dif®cult to varying degrees depending on exactly how the items are merged. The effect is perceptually salient, involving in some conditions a total destruction of subjects' capacity to track multiple items. These studies provide strong evidence for the object-based nature of tracking, con®rming that in some contexts attention must be allocated to objects rather than arbitrary collections of features. In addition, the results begin to reveal the types of spatially organized scene components that can be independently attended as a function of properties such as connectedness, part struc- ture, and other types of perceptual grouping. q 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
& Visual object representation was studied in free-ranging rhesus monkeys. To facilitate comparison with humans, and to provide a new tool for neurophysiologists, we used a looking time procedure originally developed for studies of human infants. Monkeys’ looking times were measured to displays with one or two distinct objects, separated or together, stationary or moving. Results indicate that rhesus monkeys..
One of the more compelling beliefs about vision is that it is based on representations that are coherent and complete, with everything in the visual field described in great detail. However, changes made during a visual disturbance are found to be difficult to see, arguing against the idea that our brains contain a detailed, picture-like representation of the scene. Instead, it is argued here that a more dynamic, "just-in-time" representation is involved, one with deep similarities to the way that users (...) interact with external displays. It is further argued that these similarities can provide a basis for the design of intelligent display systems that can interact with humans in highly effective and novel ways. (shrink)
Cynthia Freeland’s investigation of four kinds of ‘fidelity’ in portraiture is cut across by more general philosophical concerns. One is about what might be called the expression of persons--the persons or ‘inner selves’ of portrait subjects and of portrait artist: whether either is possible across each of the four kinds of fidelity, and whether these two kinds of expression are in tension. More fundamental is the problem of telling how self-expression is at all possible in any of these forms. Finally, (...) she wonders how photography affects all these questions. This comment addresses portraiture not so much in terms of the four fidelities, but with another quartet of concepts: four ordinary types of ‘display’, in terms of which we see how artists’ self-expression is possible in all these forms, also including photography. Its key idea is that portraits are displays simply by being pictures or sculptures, which are kinds of artifacts, hence things that we perceive as having intentional affordance: that is, as being intentionally made ‘for’ something. (shrink)
The experiments reported herein probe the visual cortical mechanisms that control near–far percepts in response to two-dimensional stimuli. Figural contrast is found to be a principal factor for the emergence of percepts of near versus far in pictorial stimuli, especially when stimulus duration is brief. Pictorial factors such as interposition (Experiment 1) and partial occlusion Experiments 2 and 3) may cooperate, as generally predicted by cue combination models, or compete with contrast factors in the manner predicted by the FACADE model. (...) In particular, if the geometrical con guration of an image favors activation of cortical bipole grouping cells, as at the top of a T-junction, then this advantage can cooperate with the contrast of the con guration to facilitate a near–far percept at a lower contrast than at an X-junction. Varying the exposure duration of the stimuli shows that the more balanced bipole competition in the X-junction case takes longer exposure times to resolve than the bipole competition in the T-junction case (Experiment 3). (shrink)
Berkeley and Helmholtz proposed different indirect mechanisms for size perception: Berkeley, that size was conditioned to various cues, independently of perceived distance; Helmholtz, that it was unconsciously calculated from angular size and perceived distance. The geometrical approach cannot explain size-distance paradoxes (e.g., moon illusion). The dorsal/ventral solution is dubious for close displays and untestable for far displays.
An object in continuous motion is perceived ahead of the briefly flashed object, although the two images are physically aligned , the phenomenon called flash-lag effect. Flash-lag effects have been found also with other continuously changing features such as color, pattern entropy, and brightness as well as with streamed pre- and post-target input without any change of the feature values of streaming items in feature space . We interpret all instances of the flash-lag as a consequence of a more fundamental (...) property of conscious perception in general: acceleration of the speed with which samples of perceptual information become represented in explicit format immediately after the stimulation onset. Decreased visual latency of the samples of stimulus information from the streamed input leads to the relative perceptual lag for the separately flashed stimulus because it is not preceded by adjacent sensory input that would have accelerated its perception. Experimental support for the notion of perceptual acceleration is reviewed. (shrink)
How does perceptual learning take place early in life? Traditionally, researchers have focused on how infants make use of information within displays to organize it, but recently, increasing attention has been paid to the question of how infants perceive objects differently depending upon their recent interactions with the objects. This experiment investigates 10-month-old infants' use of brief prior experiences with objects to visually organize a display consisting of multiple geometrically shaped three-dimensional blocks created for this study. After a brief (...) exposure to a multipart portion of the display, each infant was shown two test events, one of which preserved the unit the infant had seen and the other of which broke that unit. Overall, infants looked longer at the event that broke the unit they had seen prior to testing than the event that preserved that unit, suggesting that infants made use of the brief prior experience to (a) form a cohesive unit of the multipart portion of the display they saw prior to test and (b) segregate this unit from the rest of the test display. This suggests that infants made inferences about novel parts of the test display based on limited exposure to a subset of the test display. Like adults, infants learn features of the three-dimensional world through their experiences in it. (shrink)
_Expanding Hermeneutics _examines the development of interpretation theory, emphasizing how science in practice involves and implicates interpretive processes. Ihde argues that the sciences have developed a sophisticated visual hermeneutics that produces evidence by means of imaging, visual displays, and visualizations. From this vantage point, Ihde demonstrates how interpretation is built into technologies and instruments.
Observers inspected normal, high quality color displays of everyday visual scenes while their eye movements were recorded. A large display change occurred each time an eye blink occurred. Display changes could either involve "Central Interest" or "Marginal Interest" locations, as determined from descriptions obtained from independent judges in a prior pilot experiment. Visual salience, as determined by luminance, color, and position of the Central and Marginal interest changes were equalized.
When brief blank fields are placed between alternating displays of an original and a modified scene, a striking failure of perception is induced: the changes become extremely difficult to notice, even when they are large, presented repeatedly, and the observer expects them to occur (Rensink, O'Regan, & Clark, 1997). To determine the mechanisms behind this induced "change blindness", four experiments examine its dependence on initial preview and on the nature of the interruptions used. Results support the proposal that representations (...) at the early stages of visual processing are highly volatile, and that focused attention is needed to stabilize them sufficiently to support the perception of change. (shrink)
The representational epistemic approach to the design of visual displays and notation systems advocates encoding the fundamental conceptual structure of a knowledge domain directly in the structure of a representational system. It is claimed that representations so designed will benefit from greater semantic transparency, which enhances comprehension and ease of learning, and plastic generativity, which makes the meaningful manipulation of the representation easier and less error prone. Epistemic principles for encoding fundamental conceptual structures directly in representational schemes are described. (...) The diagrammatic recodification of probability theory is undertaken to demonstrate how the fundamental conceptual structure of a knowledge domain can be analyzed, how the identified conceptual structure may be encoded in a representational system, and the cognitive benefits that follow. An experiment shows the new probability space diagrams are superior to the conventional approach for learning this conceptually challenging topic. (shrink)
Change blindness, the surprising inability of people to detect significant changes between consecutively-presented visual displays, has recently been shown to affect tactile perception as well. Visual change blindness has been observed during saccades and eye blinks, conditions under which people’s awareness of visual information is temporarily suppressed. In the present study, we demonstrate change blindness for suprathreshold tactile stimuli resulting from the execution of a secondary task requiring bodily movement. In Experiment 1, the ability of participants to detect changes (...) between two sequentially-presented vibrotactile patterns delivered on their arms and legs was compared while they performed a secondary task consisting of either the execution of a movement with the right arm toward a visual target or the verbal identification of the target side. The results demonstrated that a motor response gave rise to the largest drop in perceptual sensitivity in detecting changes to the tactile display. In Experiment 2, we replicated these results under conditions in which the participants had to detect tactile changes while turning a steering wheel instead. These findings are discussed in terms of the role played by bodily movements, sensory suppression, and higher order information processing in modulating people’s awareness of tactile information across the body surface. (shrink)
Sociologists, philosophers and historians of science are gradually recognizing the importance of visual representation. This is part of a more general movement away from a theory-centric view of science and towards an interest in practical aspects of observation and experimentation. Rather than treating science as a matter of demonstrating the logical connection between theoretical and empirical statements, an increasing number of investigations are examining how scientists compose and use diagrams, graphs, photographs, micrographs, maps, charts, and related visual displays. This (...) paper focuses on diagrams in biology, and tries to demonstrate how diagrams are an integral part of the production of scientific knowledge. In order to disclose some of the distinctive practical and analytical uses of diagrams, the paper contrasts the way diagrams and photographs are used in biological texts. Both diagrams and photographs are shown to be “constructions” that separately and together mediate the investigation of scientific phenoman. (shrink)
The essays in this book provide an excellent introduction to the means by which scientists convey their ideas. While diverse in their subject matter, the essays are unified in asserting that scientists compose and use particular representations in contextually organized and contextually sensitive ways, and that these representations - particularly visual displays such as graphs, diagrams, photographs, and drawings - depend for their meaning on the complex activities in which they are situated.The topics include sociological orientations to representational practice, (...) representation and the realist-constructivist controversy, the fixation of evidence, time and documents in researcher interaction, selection and mathematization in the visual documentation of objects in the life sciences, the use of illustrations in texts (E.0. Wilson's Sociobiology, a field guide to the birds), representing practice in cognitive science, the iconography of scientific texts, and semiotic analysis of scientific, representation. The contributors are K. Amann, Ronald Amerine, Francoise Bastide, Jack Bilmes, K. Knorr, Bruno Latour, John Law, Michael Lynch, Greg Meyers, Lucy A. Suchman, Paul Tibbetts, Steve Woolgar, and Steven Yearley.Michael Lynch is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Boston University. Steve Woolgar is at the Centre for Research into Innovation Culture, and Technology at Brunel University, Uxbridge, England. (shrink)
Quantifier expressions like “many” and “at least” are part of a rich repository of words in language representing magnitude information. The role of numerical processing in comprehending quantifiers was studied in a semantic truth value judgment task, asking adults to quickly verify sentences about visual displays using numerical or proportional quantifiers. The visual displays were composed of systematically varied proportions of yellow and blue circles. The results demonstrated that numerical estimation and numerical reference information are fundamental in encoding (...) the meaning of quantifiers in terms of response times and acceptability judgments. However, a difference emerges in the comparison strategies when a fixed external reference numerosity is used for numerical quantifiers, whereas an internal numerical criterion is invoked for proportional quantifiers. Moreover, for both quantifier types, quantifier semantics and its polarity biased the response direction. Overall, our results indicate that quantifier comprehension involves core numerical and lexical semantic properties, demonstrating integrated processing of language and numbers. (shrink)
It has often been observed that color is a highly preferred attribute for use in distinguishing descriptions, that is, referring expressions produced with the purpose of identifying an object within a visual scene. However, most of these observations were based on visual displays containing only colors that were maximally different in hue and for which the language of experimentation possessed basic color terms. The experiments described in this paper investigate whether speakers’ preference for color is reduced if the color (...) of the target referent is similar to that of the distractors. Because colors that look similar are often also harder to distinguish linguistically, we also examine the impact of the codability of color values. As a third factor, we investigate the salience of available alternative attributes and its impact on the use of color. The results of our experiments show that, while speakers are indeed less likely to use color when the colors in a display are similar, this effect is mostly due to the difficulty in naming similar colors. Color use for color with a basic color term is affected only when the colors of target and distractors are very similar. The salience of our alternative attribute size, manipulated by varying the difference in size between target and distractors, had no impact on the use of color. (shrink)
Habitat dioramas depicting ecological relations between organisms and their natural environments have become the preferred mode of museum display in most natural history museums in North America and Europe. Dioramas emerged in the late nineteenth century as an alternative mode of museum installation from taxonomically arranged cases. We suggest that this change was closely connected to the emergence of a biogeographical framework rooted in evolutionary theory and positing the existence of distinct biogeographical zones. We tie the history of dioramas to (...) earlier visual resources such as the thematic images that Wallace introduced to illustrate his 1876 Geographical Distribution of Animals. These images were unique in their time because each of them simultaneously depicted animals from several different taxa, rather than only one, as well as the ecological relations between animals and their habitats. Both, visually and with respect to their function within biogeography, these images presaged the habitat dioramas that came shortly afterwards. Not coincidentally, Wallace explicitly advocated the use of dioramas for museum display in ongoing debates on museum reform. Wallace 's suggestions were put into practice by committed evolutionists such as Gottlieb von Koch who pioneered the diorama installation in the Grand Ducal Museum in Darmstadt in 1906. As in Wallace 's illustrations, Koch's dioramas were designed to respresent biogeographical zones. This paper explores the function of these visual displays of biogeographical relations. It argues that, in both the scientific and public realms, biogeogaphical zones were defined and constructed by visual means; recourse to visual representation was more than a method of communication. (shrink)
We examined the effects of unconscious priming on temporal-interval production. In Experiment 1, participants were instructed to keep visual displays on a screen for 2500 ms intervals. Half of the displays were repeated across blocks throughout the entire experiment, and the others were newly generated from trial to trial. The displays consisted of patterns so complex that the participants could not intentionally memorize them. The results showed that significantly more time elapsed for old displays than for (...) new displays before participants indicated that a 2500 ms interval had elapsed. Experiment 2 replicated this effect and excluded an alternative account based on perceived pattern complexity. The effect of repetitive presentation was obtained despite the fact the participants did not recognize the repetition, suggesting that unconscious priming increased temporal production. These results suggest that time perception is affected by an unconscious process. (shrink)
At the beginning there was an act of extraordinary generosity: when I first met Jeff at a legal semiotics conference in the early eighties, he approached me after my presentation of mostly half-baked ideas and wild conjectures, congratulating me on my visual displays, and enquiring if I should be interested in developing my work into a joint book project. In the portrait of the scholar as a young man or woman, this is the kind of turn of events I (...) should hope will happen for all my colleagues in the first, still insecure phases of their careers. I have had the honour and privilege of becoming a member of the Collegium Invisibile Semioticae with Jeff as the Decanus subtilis of this enterprise, special in many ways. In the abstract of my contribution to his festschrift colloquium I remarked that “The idea of the academy has to be recreated from nothing. Ex nihilo quodlibet: ad multos annos” — hoping for many more than the seven years that were to follow. In the following seven Paninian quodlibeta I have endeavoured to come to terms with the intellectual and existential appeal of economy and minimalism: fail, fail again, fail better. (shrink)