Towards a perceptual theory of flow visualization


Currently, most researchers in visualization pay very little attention to vision science. The exception is when the effective use of color is the subject. Little research in flow visualization includes a discussion of the related perceptual theory. Nor does it include an evaluation of effectiveness of the display techniques that are generated. This is so, despite Laidlaw's paper showing that such an evaluation is relatively straightforward. Of course, it's not always necessary to relate visualization research toperceptual theory. If the purpose of the research is to increase the efficiency of an algorithm, then the proper test is one of efficiency, not of perceptual validity. But when a new representation of data is the subject of research, addressing how perceptually effective it is - either by means of a straightforward empirical comparison with existing methods or analytically, relating the new mapping to perceptualtheory - should be a matter of course. A strong interdisciplinary approach, including the disciplines of perception, design, and computer science will produce better science and better design in that empirically and theoretically validated visual display techniques will result.

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

IEEE Computer Graphics and Application


28, Issue 2



Publisher Place

Washington DC, USA



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article