The role of perceptual cues in matrix diagrams

Jan van der Meij, Marije Amelsvoort, Anjo Allert Anjewierden

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An experiment was conducted to assess whether the design of a matrix diagram influences how people study the diagram and whether this has an effect on recall of the presented information. We compared four versions of a matrix diagram on antisocial personality disorder. It consisted of four header cells on top and four on the left, organizing the content in sixteen body cells around four types of personality disorders (antisocial, dependent, schizoid and narcissistic) and four categories within each type (self-image, emotion, behavior, and attitude). Content of the diagram in the four conditions was the same, but the layout was different. Arrows made the orientation of the diagram to be either left-right or top-down, and the personality types were on the left while the categories were on top, or the other way around. 81 participants were asked to study one of these four diagrams for five minutes and do a post-test. Eye movements were recorded to analyze participants’ viewing patterns. We found that participants mainly followed the types when reading the diagram. Participants performed better on the questions that were focused on types than on the questions that focused on categories, regardless of the condition they were in
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2015
Event16th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI) 2015: Towards a reflective society: synergies between learning, teaching and research - Limassol, Cyprus
Duration: 25 Aug 201529 Aug 2015
Conference number: 16


Conference16th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI) 2015
Abbreviated titleEARLI


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