Representing meta-information using textural attributes
Fortenbery, Nicholas Neil
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This study explored how the textural attributes scale and regularity can be used to convey meta-information about geospatial regions. Participants were asked to rank and rate 4 or 8 visual stimuli that were overlaid onto three types of maps. Instructions were based on two criteria: upset protestors and the likelihood of a thunderstorm. Results showed that participants were able to effectively rank and rate stimuli across both attributes, scale and regularity. Background map did not have a significant effect on results; however, instruction type, the number of stimuli, and the textural attribute produced different results with regards to the distribution of responses and in some cases with the direction with which participants ordered the stimuli. It was found that instructions that ask participants to evaluate texturally coded regions based on probability or likelihood produced less effective results, perhaps because of the inability of visual texture to convey a zero probability of something occurring. While participants consistently agreed that the more irregular the texture the more upset protestors were, ordering direction was less consistent for scale and for probability meta-information. While further research is needed, these results show that the way we as humans perceive and map visual stimuli is not straight forward or natural and rather, is a complex interaction between the entire visual field and what we are told it represents.