Unit 6 Reading

Information Design

There are two pathways that information follows to be perceived:

1. Bottom – up processing: in which the impulses are carried from the retina to the brain.


2. Top – down processing: in which memories are retreived from the brain and brought to visual processing areas.

Information is stored in what is called iconic memory, a short-term storage for visual information. Iconic memory is used for keeping a coherent picture of the world. Because our short term momories have very limited storage capacities it is not advisable, in the case of infographics, to use more than four or five colors or pictograms to represent information on maps or charts.

Then Cairo tells us that short-term memory and long-term memory are like a hard drive and RAM on a computer. Long-term memory being like a hard drive and our short-term memory being like our RAM. And object recognition comes from both working at the same time; visualizing (bottom-up) and then loading from memory (top-down).


Visual object recognition theory is based on:

Features, like in a face

Components, like structural descriptions

and configuration-based, how the components are spacially arranged and how they relate to one another

The study, “Speed of perception as a function of mode of presentation” showed that people were able to identify abstract depiction most efficiently, because the brain has to sort through less details to get the important information.

The eyes see an image, the mind interprets data, and together they can comprehend.




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