Cognitive Principles of Graphic Displays

Barbara Tversky

Graphic displays, such as maps, that portray visible things are ancient, whereas graphic displays such as graphs and diagrams that portray things that are inherently not visible, are relatively modern inventions. They serve a variety of functions, such as providing models, attracting attention, supporting memory, facilitating inference and discovery. Graphic displays use space to convey meaning in ways that are congitively natural, as suggested by historical and developmental examples. Typically, icons are used to convey elements, based on likenesses and figures of depiction and spatial relations are used to convey other relations, based on proximity.

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