Hypothetical outcome plots outperform error bars and violin plots for inferences about reliability of variable ordering

Jessica Ruth Hullman, Paul Resnick, Eytan Adar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many visual depictions of probability distributions, such as error bars, are difficult for users to accurately interpret. We present and study an alternative representation, Hypothetical Outcome Plots (HOPs), that animates a finite set of individual draws. In contrast to the statistical background required to interpret many static representations of distributions, HOPs require relatively little background knowledge to interpret. Instead, HOPs enables viewers to infer properties of the distribution using mental processes like counting and integration. We conducted an experiment comparing HOPs to error bars and violin plots. With HOPs, people made much more accurate judgments about plots of two and three quantities. Accuracy was similar with all three representations for most questions about distributions of a single quantity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0142444
JournalPloS one
Volume10
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Hypothetical outcome plots outperform error bars and violin plots for inferences about reliability of variable ordering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this