Featured Events

Workshop: On Novel Directions in Vision Science and Visualization Research

Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: TBD

Description: Interdisciplinary work across vision science and visualization has provided a new lens to advance research methods and the empirical understanding of how people see and make sense of visualized data. By studying how people leverage visual cognition to perceive and interpret visualized data, researchers gain direct insight into how well visualizations achieve user goals. Topics in vision sciences, such as memory, ensemble coding, numerical cognition, saliency, color perception, search, and pattern recognition map directly to common challenges encountered in visualization research. Designers can use insights from vision research to inform effective visualization designs, which can in turn inspire new opportunities to understand how such visualizations work. Building on the growing interest in work at this intersection from both the vision science and visualization communities, this 2nd biennial workshop provides a venue to bring new researchers to IEEE VIS. We aim to discuss innovative discoveries at this intersection, share cutting-edge research methods/findings/proposals, and inspire new collaborations by leveraging the unique affordances of a hybrid conference, providing a platform for diverse voices.

Keynote Speakers


Keisuke Fukuda, University of Toronto Mississauga

Dilemma of visual working memory: visual working memory gets distorted when used for perceptual comparisons

How do we look for a friend on a crowded street? Many theories propose that we actively represent a memory representation of the friend in our visual working memory (VWM) and compare it with the individuals you see on the street. Although past studies have successfully characterized the capacity and quality of VWM, the consequence of its usage in perceptual comparisons has been largely unknown. In this talk, I will demonstrate that VWM representations get distorted when we use them for perceptual comparisons with new visual inputs, especially when the inputs are subjectively similar to the VWM representations. Furthermore, I will show that this similarity-induced memory bias (SIMB) occurs for both simple (e.g., color, shape) and complex stimuli (e.g., real-world objects, faces) that are perceptually encoded and retrieved from long-term memory. Given the observed versatility of the SIMB, its implication for other memory distortion phenomena (e.g., distractor-induced distortion, misinformation effect) will be discussed.

Relevant VIS papers:


Jiaying Zhao, University of British Columbia

Attentional and Perceptual Biases of Climate Change

Climate change is the most significant global challenge facing humanity, but many people still remain skeptical and refuse to take actions despite the unequivocal scientific evidence. In this talk, I discuss a number of attentional and perceptual biases that contribute to the public polarization on climate change. These biases include differences in attentional and visual processing driven by political orientation, exaggerated perceptions of out-group and in-group norms, and underestimations of greenhouse gas emissions of common objects and actions. I further propose communication approaches such as visualization and framing to mitigate some of these biases, with the broader goal of minimizing polarizing views and promoting public actions to address climate change.

Relevant VIS papers:


Todd Horowitz, NIH

Towards a science of visual health risk communication

Communicating quantitative information about risk is central to cancer control, and across public health and medicine. Persuading people to adopt healthier behaviors, helping patients choose between courses of treatment with complex outcomes, deciding whether or not to sign up for a clinical trial; all of these scenarios involve accurately communicating probabilistic information about risk to laypeople. Even highly educated people have difficulty understanding probabilistic health information when communicated verbally. The solution has been to shift to graphic representations of probability. Unfortunately, the science of health graphics is atheoretical and largely ignores developments in basic vision science, leading to suboptimal outcomes and lack of replicability. Conversely, work on quantitative perception in vision science is rarely conducted in a health context. Visualization science has been primarily focused on serving physicians. It is time for a science of visual risk communication aimed at improving the visual communication of health risks and probabilities to patients and the public at large, across all educational and socioeconomic groups. This effort requires contributions from medicine, psychophysics, visualization, cognitive psychology, and affective science, among other disciplines.

Relevant VIS papers:

How to Participate

We are excited to announce two submission tracks this year. Authors can contribute short papers and/or abstracts to be workshopped with peers during the event. Read more about both options below.

Short papers

Short Research Papers (accepted May 25 – August 10, 2021):

These should comprise of empirical studies grounded in theories from perceptual or cognitive science. Short papers might include the use of a novel evaluation technique, or a perception or visual cognition study that has direct implications for visualization research or design. Studies should aim to make progress towards the greater goal of collaboration and academic reciprocity between vision scientists and visualization researchers. Research papers must present new work, meaning that the results must not be published in an existing peer reviewed venue. They should be four page max + up to 2 pages of references. Accepted short research papers will be presented as a 10-minute talk.

Short Position Papers (accepted May 25 – August 10, 2021):

These are problem discussions or statements describing the author’s relevant experience and ideas in regards to topics such as: applications of perceptual theory towards vision science, novel operationalizations of visual or cognitive phenomena that can be studied in perception experiments, visualization designs that have the potential to pose interesting questions for vision research, the role of vision in visualization, methods pertaining to collaborative efforts from these fields, etc. Position papers are often framed in the context of a brief review of literature, or are written as a review supporting a proposal for future work. They should be four page max + up to 2 pages of references. Accepted short position papers will be presented as a 10-minute talk.

Experiment Proposal Workshopping

Abstract Submissions (accepted September 1 – October 1, 2021):

  • Do you have a vision-related visualization research question that you’ve been wanting to solve, but aren’t quite sure how to execute?
  • Do you have a cool visualization technique that needs a perceptual evaluation?
  • Do you have a dream VISxVISION collaboration that you’ve been wanting to pitch?

…then this is the workshop for you!

We are seeking open and actionable research proposals to be workshopped in collaborative breakout sessions during our event. Proposals should include supporting literature and concrete problem statements, but do not need to include specific methods or analysis plans – this is what groups can discuss and plan together during the session. Abstracts should highlight research-in-progress, reviews, methodological questions or proposals, or experiments in preparation for journal submission, and must be 300 words or less.

The workshopping session will involve small group discussions, aimed to help researchers improve their ideas and facilitate a more intimate social and academic connection amongst attendees. Abstract submissions will be shared during the event; authors will give a ~2 minute presentation explaining their experiment proposal to facilitate subsequent conversations around their research ideas.

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