Cognitive bias is a systemic error in thought or understanding of the world around us. They are subconscious and often result from quickly processing information as part of the decision-making process. These biases can affect how we see and interact with the world.
Cognitive biases affect everyone and are often unnoticed. With more than 100 cognitive biases recognized in this comprehensive list compiled by Buster Benson and John Manoogian, III, it is easy to conceive that they could make their way into how visual storytellers and designers view data to create visualizations.
Data visualization allows people to understand huge amounts of data quickly. Agency EA reports that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. It is no wonder that data visualization plays such an important role in boiling down the huge amount of data being collected in our world and transformed into understandable, useable, shareable bites.
In my the IGNITE presentation, I’ve explored cognitive biases, how they shape storytelling, and how designers can work to avoid allowing biases to affect the stories they tell through data visualization.
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