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Open Access Feeling numbers : The emotional impact of proximity techniques in visualization

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For means of communication, persuasion is a natural and critical part of conveying a message. Data visualizations, being means of communication themselves, are used as rhetorical instruments, but how they persuade has yet to be fully understood. Based on George Campbell’s rhetorical theory, this paper presents the results of an empirical study testing the effectiveness of appeals to emotion through proximity techniques – the contextual framing of a visualization. The findings indicate that people feel greater interest towards a topic when the visualized data are more relevant to them, and that data representing events closer in time are more affecting.

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Keywords: data visualization; emotion; pathos; rhetoric

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2019

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