The Elements: A Visual Exploration Of Every Kno...
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Based on seven years of research and photography by Theodore Gray and Nick Mann, The Elements presents the most complete and visually arresting representation available to the naked eye of every atom in the universe. Organized sequentially by atomic number, every element is represented by a big beautiful photograph that most closely represents it in its purest form. Several additional photographs show each element in slightly altered forms or as used in various practical ways. Also included are fascinating stories of the elements, as well as data on the properties of each, including atomic number, atomic symbol, atomic weight, density, atomic radius, as well as scales for electron filling order, state of matter, and an atomic emission spectrum.
Both transformative and generative techniques have been used to study the role of top-down modulation in object recognition because they are able to manipulate object-related information content of the stimulus in order to control the ability of subjects to recognize objects. A popular design to study top-down modulation of recognition involves perceptual hysteresis , i.e., a drop in detection or recognition threshold when subjects have been previously exposed to targets as compared to the situation where subjects are naive. Perceptual hysteresis can be studied by progressively manipulating recognizability of the target, first in an ascending fashion (from difficult to easy), where the subject is naive, and subsequently in a reversed, descending fashion (from easy to difficult), where the subject has already been exposed to clear targets and therefore possesses prior knowledge about them , . As a result of this priming, detection or recognition accuracy is increased during the descending presentation of targets, presumably because top-down influences facilitate object perception , . For obvious reasons, the above mentioned techniques to produce stimuli are useful to study perceptual hysteresis because they can manipulate stimulus recognizability in a parameterized way. Another technique frequently used in the study of perceptual hysteresis is masking where the stimulus is flashed for a limited duration and followed by a mask , . Unlike transformative and generative techniques, masking does not require that the stimulus is changed to modulate its recognizability but renders recognition difficult because of the limited access to the stimulus. This makes it suitable to use original, unprocessed images, although masking is frequently used also in combination with stimuli produced via transformative  or generative methods . We consider that masking is a less natural way of studying object perception and perceptual hysteresis because it prevents free visual exploration. Since most studies have used stimuli in combination with masking, little is known about how perceptual hysteresis is manifested under naturalistic, free viewing conditions.
During natural vision, humans actively explore their visual environment and are able to map known patterns onto perceptually defined categories. Visual exploration relies on processes such as saccades and fixations  and supports an amazingly robust mapping between visual patterns and object categories during recognition. To effortlessly classify objects, humans can use most available information extractable from visual features, such as contour, color, depth, motion, texture, shading etc . For this reason, under natural viewing conditions recognition is highly robust and occurs almost instantaneously. The investigation of object recognition thus requires a strategy to enable the manipulation of object perception in a controlled fashion.
We used a single parameter to manipulate the amount of object-related information in the stimulus, i.e. g value, an advantage also shared by other methods , , . The change of this single parameter produces significant changes in perception, leading to higher recognition levels as g increases. In statistical tests, we have found that this parameter was consistently effective on dependent variables, even at the level of visual exploration behavior, such as fixation pattern. The transition from not seen/not detectable to seen/identifiable stimuli is smooth across a set of objects and passes through a state of uncertainty where objects can be detected but not recognized.
Object recognition is thought to involve both a fast, feed-forward sweep of coarse visual information ,  and a feedback component that guides further detailed visual exploration , , . Deformed dot lattices provide only coarse, low spatial frequency visual information about objects. As a result, visual exploration becomes more extensive because fine image structure to quickly guide exploration is missing. By presenting stimuli in blocks ordered according to ascending or descending visibility, we were able to touch on the non-trivial interaction between feed-forward and feedback processes. We found that the descending condition (where subjects first perceive the objects clearly) significantly lowers recognition thresholds as compared to the ascending condition, a phenomenon known as perceptual hysteresis . Hysteresis is believed to be caused by feedback, which enables the perceptual system to identify an object that was recently seen, even when only little feed-forward information is available .
We also found that novelty (first exposure to stimuli in the descending condition) and low discriminability (small g values) were associated with an increase in fixation duration. The latter was reported to be unrelated to stimulus familiarity but more likely connected to cognitive demand , . This is also suggested by increased fixation duration when subjects identify new over old stimuli . Because stimulus parameters and task load are under control, the present method allows tackling this problem more precisely. Our results confirm that increased fixation duration is due to increased cognitive demand (novel type of stimulus/unknown objects in the first block of descending condition and low discriminability for low g values). This further indicates that under conditions with high cognitive demand the brain optimizes sampling of visual information not only by guiding fixation location during visual exploration but also by controlling the amount of integration per fixation.
Because the present study focused on free visual exploration, the task was designed for measurement of accuracy rather than reaction time. Nevertheless, because we wanted to quantify the duration of exploration for different response types we additionally measured reaction times. All results regarding reaction times should therefore be interpreted not in the classical sense but as a reflection of exploration duration. Two different experiments were carried out. In Experiment 1, instructions given to subjects emphasized accuracy, but mentioned that speed was important as well (see Procedure for details). In Experiment 2, subjects were given no instructions regarding response speed. In addition, in the latter experiment we carried out concurrent eye-tracking to identify the pattern of saccades/fixations during each trial.
Abstract:The increase of data collection in various domains calls for an adaptation of methods of visualization to tackle magnitudes exceeding the number of available pixels on screens and challenging interactivity. This growth of datasets size has been supported by the advent of accessible and scalable storage and computing infrastructure. Similarly, visualization systems need perceptual and interactive scalability. We present a complete system, complying with the constraints of aforesaid environment, for visual exploration of large multidimensional data with parallel coordinates. Perceptual scalability is addressed with data abstraction while interactions rely on server-side data-intensive computation and hardware-accelerated rendering on the client-side. The system employs a hybrid computing method to accommodate pre-computing time or space constraints and achieves responsiveness for main parallel coordinates plot interaction tools on billions of records.Keywords: big data; multidimensional data; parallel coordinates; interactive data exploration and discovery; distributed computing
The importance of data visualization is simple: it helps people see, interact with, and better understand data. Whether simple or complex, the right visualization can bring everyone on the same page, regardless of their level of expertise.
In the ASD group, we observed decreased time spent on faces. Social complexity (interactive play) elicited changes in visual exploration patterns in both groups. From the parallel to the interactive condition, we observed a shift towards socially relevant parts of the scene, a decrease in fixation duration, as well as an increase in spontaneous gaze shifts between faces and objects though there were fewer in the ASD group.
Our results suggest that similar to TD children, though to a lesser extent, visual exploration patterns in ASD are modulated by context. Children with ASD that were less sensitive to context modulation showed decreased socio-communicative skills or higher levels of symptoms. Our findings support using naturalistic designs to capture socio-communicative deficits in ASD.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of pervasive neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impairments in communication, social interactions and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors (DSM-5) . A core symptom of ASD, often reported early on by parents, is a difficulty modulating eye contact. Based on this observation, studies have focused on the possible link between atypical visual exploration and social difficulties in autism using eye-tracking technology. The majority of these studies have shown decreased attention to social stimuli in individuals wit