Understanding the required resources in line graph comprehension

Cara Bailey Fausset, Wendy A. Rogers, Arthur D. Fisk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Visual line graphs are a prevalent form of communication as they provide a pictorial means to display relationships between entities. As such, understanding the cognitive resources required in processing line graphs would inform designers how to optimize the use of graphical displays. This study systematically investigated how graph task performance changes as a function of attention allocation (full or divided) and concurrent memory task (spatial or verbal). Twenty-four younger adults (mean age 19.2 years) completed either a trend comparison task or a point estimation task and a concurrent spatial or verbal task. Trend comparison performance did not significantly differ between the full and divided attention conditions; mean performance for all conditions was over 90% accurate. Interestingly, participants' point estimation performance was significantly better for the two divided attention conditions compared to the full attention condition which may be attributed to a motivational or stimulus effect. This study provides a base from which more research can be conducted to understand the verbal and spatial resources required in graph comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication52nd Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2008
PublisherHuman Factors and Ergonomics Society Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781605606859
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event52nd Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2008 - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Sep 22 2008Sep 26 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
ISSN (Print)1071-1813


Other52nd Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York, NY

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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