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Speed and Misconceptions in Comprehending Structured Graphs

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Investigator: Dr. Christof Körner 
Supported by: Austrian National Bank (Jubiläumsfonds)
Grant No.: 8419
Duration: Started in July 2000
Undergraduate Assistants: Beatrix Ortner
Edith Schreiner

Abstract

Appropriate visualization and its comprehension is crucial for analysis and communication of numerical or non-numerical data structures. The project Speed and Misconceptions in Comprehending Structured Graphs continues its predecessor Structured Diagrams. We focus on comprehension of visualized ordered sets. Experimental investigations pertaining to speed of comprehension and misconceptions in comprehending structured graphs are conducted.

In several investigations we test hypotheses based on assumptions on visual information processing and on the theory of knowledge spaces. In particular, we focus on speed of comprehension as a function of visual properties of structured graphs. In addition, we address comprehension failure caused by misconceptions which may be induced by (a) visual properties of the graphs and (b) a lack of relevant interpretive knowledge.

Our results might be relevant for psychologists from the areas of perception and comprehension research, as well as for mathematicians and computer scientists who use graphs for the (automatic) display of non-numerical data.

last modification: September 2000
by Beatrix Ortner