Detecting changes in dynamic functions with tables and graphs Conference Paper uri icon


  • The relative efficiency of graphic and tabular displays for detecting changes in the amplitude of periodic sine functions, simulating a dynamic process, was assessed. Line graphs had an advantage over tables for the detection of changes and for the correct identification of the changed function. However, the advantage depended on the type of change that could occur. A large difference between the displays was evident when both increases and decreases in amplitude were possible, and differences were much smaller when amplitudes could only increase. These results indicate that participants adapted their detection methods to the types of possible changes. The findings demonstrate the utility of graphic displays for process control and substantiate the claim that graphic displays have an advantage when the displayed information has inherent structure and when the task requires the use of this structure. In addition, task performance was shown to be the subject of adaptive changes, which depend on the context in which the task is performed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000