The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

Marije van Amelsvoort & Lisanne van Weelden

Tilburg University, Netherlands

Spatial Visualization

Phelps Hall 3512 (map)
12:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, 2015

. Interested in how people use metaphorical relations to translate information into a representation, van Amelsvoort and van Weelden will present three different lines of research on the visual representation of information. First, they have investigated the role of space, graphics, and text in diagrams visualizing an argumentative viewpoint in everyday argumentation. Participants were presented with pro and con arguments about a socially relevant topic and were asked to graphically represent the arguments such that their position would become clear to a reader. A group of readers was subsequently asked to interpret the viewpoint and explain what graphical and spatial aspects of the visualizations they used to come to their conclusion.

A second study investigated how people represent power relations visually. Participants were provided with a story that involved different actors that either did (e.g., school principal, teacher, teacher’s assistant, and student) or did not (e.g., Peter, Karin, Paul, and Julie) have different power relations. Asked to represent the story with Lego blocks, participants used color, height, width, and position on the Lego platform to visualize the relations between individuals. In a third study, they investigated whether people make use of the conceptual metaphor “important is heavy” or “important is up” when interpreting language. For the “important is heavy” metaphor, participants listened to short sentences in which two actors were equally important (e.g., “Tess watches a movie with Anna”) or of different importance (e.g., “Sophie scored more goals than Emma”). Participants were then asked to place figures of different weight on a seesaw to visualize the sentences.

Marije van Amelsvoort and Lisanne van Weelden are assistant professors at the department of Communication and Information Sciences, Tilburg University, The Netherlands. Marije received a PhD in 2006 on collaborative learning with diagrams. In 2013, Lisanne received a PhD on the processing of visual metaphors. Together, they perform research on conceptual metaphors, the perception of arguments, and misleading with diagrams.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.
Please contact Andrea Ballatore (893-5267, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

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