Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reaction: Attention and Visual Memory in Visualization and Computer Graphics

The most important concern of a visualization designer is how to present information without producing visual confusion. This paper successfully explains how human perception holds an important role in the area of visualization. It proves the same by showing some of the recent research developments related to human psychophysics and its relevance in scientific and information visualization. The paper has very good visual and colorful examples for each and very fact and theory being stated which makes it very clear and easy to understand. It is quite knowledgeable and interesting to know so many preattentive visual features. It puts forth all the facts which when reader reads can totally relate to and can agree to it, like the similarity theory, boolean maps, change blindness etc. It even tells about some information which are not so obvious and known by people but very intriguing like the research on eye tracking which showed that tracking the eyes of a viewer alone doesn't provide any special access to the cognitive processes undertaken by the viewer.

The only thing that confused me a little was the example that authors gave in which they showed a 30 seconds video to subjects and then another stream of a superimposed woman walking with an open umbrella. Its hard to fathom that after showing this stream for 4 seconds, anyone can not notice it.

This paper discusses the past and current theories of visual attention and visual memory and even what the researchers intend to find in future for e.g. the potential to retain the details of images. Overall its a very good and informative read.