LAMP Seminar
Language and Media Processing Laboratory
Conference Room 4185
A.V. Williams Building
University of Maryland

Wide-range high-precision guages:
Design possibilities and empirical studies
George Ziets, Dept of Psychology
University of Maryland


The issue of how best to present wide-range, high-precision numerical information in the context of a computer display is the focus of this study. Two experiments will be discussed, one of which has already been carried out, the other of which is currently in progress. Both present subjects with a variety of digital and graphical (bar) gauges. Subjects are instructed to choose the gauge displaying the largest number. The first experiment tested several varieties of graphical gauges in addition to the basic digital gauge, differing on orientation (horizontal or vertical) and type of label (moving or fixed). Displayed numbers were divided into three color ranges so that the effects of color on comparative judgments could also be examined. A task analysis was proposed to model the cognitive processes involved, but contrary to the predictions generated, it was found that the five types of gauges used in the experiment did not lead to significant differences in reaction time or accuracy, although comparisons in which numbers fall into different color ranges were significantly faster than comparisons in which color differences did not occur. The second experiment proposes a new cognitive model of the comparison task and tests it using a slightly different assortment of gauges. Following the presentation of these two
experiments, future directions for the gauges study will be discussed

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