Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Psychology

Advisor(s)

Jeffrey T. Andre

Abstract

Researchers, pollsters, marketers, and others use graphical displays to reduce the need for wordy, and often unclear, descriptions of their findings. Numerous studies have attempted to determine important graphical attributes that aid readers’ graphical perception. For example, does three-dimensionality (3D) of a graph help readers to accurately assess the graph’s data? The present study is the first to use eye movement data to quantify how 3D graphs, graph type, the use of gridlines, and data positioning affected readers’ perception and accuracy. Participants viewed 24 different graphs while their eye movements were recorded. Time, fixation, and accuracy were recorded for each graph and for the function, value, and position of each graph. Results showed significant effects of all variables such that performance was worse for: line graphs, 3D graphs, graphs without gridlines, and data positions further from the vertical axis. All variables also interacted. Implications for the graphical representation of quantitative information is discussed.

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