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Data at Work: Best practices for creating effective charts and information graphics in Microsoft® Excel® by Jorge Camões

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3. Beyond Visual Perception

As you can imagine, the details behind what we’ve just covered in the previous chapter are infinitely complex; we’ve only scratched the surface of how perception affects data visualization. But even the little we do know so far is enough to stop us from making obvious mistakes. So let’s continue by looking at the social and cultural aspects of visual representation.

After learning about the mechanics of perception, we’ll agree that it’s inevitable that a single red spot on a black-and-white photo will catch our attention; and we find it impossible to store 50 objects in working memory. Does this mean that, since humans share a similar physiology, the way we react to stimuli or manage information is predictable or, ...

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