Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Ann E. Barron, Ed.D.


Multivariate data, Data displays, Graphical displays, Eye tracking, Conjunctions


Prescriptions for effective display of quantitative information involving more than two variables are not available. To explore the effectiveness of retinal variables in facilitating the interpretation of information and decision making when used in conjunction, a study with 135 participants was conducted. The study involved the use of color shape, color value, and value shape as retinal variables in interactive displays that required participants to answer nine questions in three levels of complexity (identification of data points, analyses of local comparisons and global trends). Time-on-task scores and performance scores were measured. In addition, a View Clamp eye tracker system was used and 12 out of the 135 participants completed the task of answering questions while their eye movements were recorded. Repeated measures analysis followed by multiple comparisons of means showed that participants in the color and shape group performed significantly better and faster than color/value and shape/value groups only for questions that involved studying global trends and decision making (level 3). The shape and value group was significantly faster than color and shape group in answering level 1. Color and value as retinal variables produced results that indicated that the two variables when used in conjunction could be suitable for display of data that involved comparison. This needs to be explored further. Eye movements provided further evidence to the feature integration theory (Treisman, 1982) and showed feature search occurred right away as participants entered the display. 78% of those who reported mental strategies indicated that they identified the features used in the display first.