The cognitive science of visual analytics

Brian Fisher, Professor, SIAT, SFU

Jan 11 2017, 12:30 - 14:20 pm, SFU Surrey Room 5380

About the talk:


The visualization community should not try to reinvent psychological science as it is represented by organizations like APS, Psychonomics, Cognitive Science, etc. There is over a century of experimental psychology in the West and a millennium of less structured investigation in the East (e.g Ibn Al Haytham, 1024 AD) that we must build upon. We risk spending another century reinventing the wheel. Neither can we count on off the shelf psychology research to solve our problems, most psychologists are neither aware of nor interested in the special characteristics of the experiences that we create with our interactive visualization systems. The nature of those environments differs in fundamental ways from the natural environment that experimental psychologists implicitly gear their research and their laboratory and field experiment methods.

The solution to this problem lies in the creation of a integrated cognitive science of interaction, a “cyberpsychology". This begins with studies of ”cognition in the wild”, continues with laboratory studies of the ways in which the novel perceptual and interactive environments that are generated by complex visualization environments affect human perception, cognition, action and collaboration and ends with translational field experiments that integrate theory and methods from lab studies into semi-realistic tasks and settings to inform visualization design choices and evaluation metrics.

I will discuss this approach to the design and evaluation of visual information systems for complex information environments, with examples from aircraft safety, emergency management, and personalized health.

About Speaker:

A Cognitive Psychologist with an Erdos number of 2, Brian is a Professor in SFU's School of Interactive Arts and Technology. Also at SFU Brian is Project Lead in IRMACS, the centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences. At UBC he is the Associate Director of the Media And Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre, and member of the Brain Research Centre and Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems. Brian is a Fellow of the Psychonomics Society and a member of the IEEE  "Visualization Pioneer” group. He chaired IEEE VAST 2010, ISCRAM 2012, and the International Symposium on Smart Graphics in 2004 and 2006. He serves on the VIS Executive Committee, the leadership board of  DHS VACCINE Center of Excellence and the steering committees for the International Cybercrime Research Centre, the German DFG "Scalable Visual Analytics" Priority Program, and VAST. He was keynote speaker for 2011 EuroVAST, 2011 NATO Visualisation Network-of-Experts, and the 2011 Scalable VA DFG Priority Program meeting.