Color and Quantity (07-22-22)

Sibrel and colleagues investigated how color influences perceptions of quantity.  They share that “Interpreting colormap visualizations requires determining how dimensions of color in visualizations map onto quantities in data. People have color-based biases that influence their interpretations of colormaps, such as a dark-is-more bias—darker colors map to larger quantities. Previous studies of color-based biases focused on colormaps with weak data spatial structure, but color-based biases may not generalize to colormaps with strong data spatial structure, like ‘hotspots’ typically found in weather maps and neuroimaging brain maps. There may be a hotspot-is-more bias to infer that colors within hotspots represent larger quantities, which may override the dark-is-more bias. We tested this possibility in four experiments. . . . in the presence of strong spatial cues to the locus of larger quantities, color-based biases still influenced interpretations of colormap data visualizations.”

Shannon Sibrel, Ragini Rathore, Laurent Lessard, and Karen Schloss.  2020. “The Relation Between Color and Spatial Structure for Interpreting Colormap Data Visualizations.”  Journal of Vision, vol. 20, no. 7, https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.12.7