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A Psychology of Visualization or (External) Representation?

by   Amy Rae Fox, et al.

What is a visualization? There is limited utility in trifling with definitions, except insofar as one serves as a tool for communicating and conceptualizing our subject matter; a statement of identity for a community. To establish Visualization Psychology as a viable inter-disciplinary research programme, we must first define the object(s) of our collective inquiry. I propose that while we might refer to the study of "visualization" for the term's colloquial accessibility and pragmatic alignment with other fields, we should consider for exploration a class of artifacts and corresponding processes more expansive and profound: external representations. What follows is an argument for the study of external representation as the foundation for a new interdisciplinary endeavor, and approach to mapping the corresponding problem space.


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