Towards a Theory of Analytical Behaviour: A Model of Decision-Making in Visual Analytics

AbstractThis paper introduces a descriptive model of the human-computer processes that lead to decision-making in visual analytics. A survey of nine models from the visual analytics and HCI literature are presented to account for different perspectives such as sense-making, reasoning, and low-level human-computer interactions. The survey examines the people and computers (entities) presented in the models, the divisions of labour between entities (both physical and role-based), the behaviour of both people and machines as constrained by their roles and agency, and finally the elements and processes which define the flow of data both within and between entities. The survey informs the identification of four observations that characterise analytical behaviour - defined as decision-making facilitated by visual analytics: bilateral discourse, divisions of labour, mixed-synchronicity information flows, and bounded behaviour. Based on these principles, a descriptive model is presented as a contribution towards a theory of analytical behaviour. The future intention is to apply prospect theory, a economic model of decision-making under uncertainty, to the study of analytical behaviour. It is our assertion that to apply prospect theory first requires a descriptive model of the processes that facilitate decision-making in visual analytics. We conclude it necessary to measure the perception of risk in future work in order to apply prospect theory to the study of analytical behaviour using our proposed model.

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