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  1. Data visualizations present a massive number of potential messages to an observer. One might notice that one group's average is larger than another's, or that a difference in values is smaller than a difference between two others, or any of a combinatorial explosion of other possibilities. The message that a viewer tends to notice - the message that a visualization ‘affords’ - is strongly affected by how values are arranged in a chart, e.g., how the values are colored or positioned. Although understanding the mapping between a chart's arrangement and what viewers tend to notice is critical for creating guidelines and recommendation systems, current empirical work is insufficient to lay out clear rules. We present a set of empirical evaluations of how different messages-including ranking, grouping, and part-to-whole relationships-are afforded by variations in ordering, partitioning, spacing, and coloring of values, within the ubiquitous case study of bar graphs. In doing so, we introduce a quantitative method that is easily scalable, reviewable, and replicable, laying groundwork for further investigation of the effects of arrangement on message affordances across other visualizations and tasks. Pre-registration and all supplemental materials are available at and , respectively. 
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  2. The prevalence of inadequate SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) responses may indicate a lack of trust in forecasts and risk communication. However, no work has empirically tested how multiple forecast visualization choices impact trust and task-based performance. The three studies presented in this paper (N=1299) examine how visualization choices impact trust in COVID-19 mortality forecasts and how they influence performance in a trend prediction task. These studies focus on line charts populated with real-time COVID-19 data that varied the number and color encoding of the forecasts and the presence of best/worst-case forecasts. The studies reveal that trust in COVID-19 forecast visualizations initially increases with the number of forecasts and then plateaus after 6–9 forecasts. However, participants were most trusting of visualizations that showed less visual information, including a 95% confidence interval, single forecast, and grayscale encoded forecasts. Participants maintained high trust in intervals labeled with 50% and 25% and did not proportionally scale their trust to the indicated interval size. Despite the high trust, the 95% CI condition was the most likely to evoke predictions that did not correspond with the actual COVID-19 trend. Qualitative analysis of participants' strategies confirmed that many participants trusted both the simplistic visualizations and those with numerous forecasts. This work provides practical guides for how COVID-19 forecast visualizations influence trust, including recommendations for identifying the range where forecasts balance trade-offs between trust and task-based performance. 
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  3. Abstract

    People worldwide use SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) visualizations to make life and death decisions about pandemic risks. Understanding how these visualizations influence risk perceptions to improve pandemic communication is crucial. To examine how COVID-19 visualizations influence risk perception, we conducted two experiments online in October and December of 2020 (N= 2549) where we presented participants with 34 visualization techniques (available at the time of publication on the CDC’s website) of the same COVID-19 mortality data. We found that visualizing data using a cumulative scale consistently led to participants believing that they and others were at more risk than before viewing the visualizations. In contrast, visualizing the same data with a weekly incident scale led to variable changes in risk perceptions. Further, uncertainty forecast visualizations also affected risk perceptions, with visualizations showing six or more models increasing risk estimates more than the others tested. Differences between COVID-19 visualizations of the same data produce different risk perceptions, fundamentally changing viewers’ interpretation of information.

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  4. null (Ed.)
    In response to COVID-19, a vast number of visualizations have been created to communicate information to the public. Information exposure in a public health crisis can impact people’s attitudes towards and responses to the crisis and risks, and ultimately the trajectory of a pandemic. As such, there is a need for work that documents, organizes, and investigates what COVID-19 visualizations have been presented to the public. We address this gap through an analysis of 668 COVID-19 visualizations. We present our findings through a conceptual framework derived from our analysis, that examines who, (uses) what data, (to communicate) what messages, in what form, under what circumstances in the context of COVID-19 crisis visualizations. We provide a set of factors to be considered within each component of the framework. We conclude with directions for future crisis visualization research. 
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  5. Geographical maps encoded with rainbow color scales are widely used for spatial data analysis in climate science, despite evidence from the visualization literature that they are not perceptually optimal. We present a controlled user study that compares the effect of color scales on performance accuracy for climate-modeling tasks using pairs of continuous geographical maps generated using climatological metrics. For each pair of maps, 39 scientist-observers judged: i) the magnitude of their difference, ii) their degree of spatial similarity, and iii) the region of greatest dissimilarity between them. Besides the rainbow color scale, two other continuous color scales were chosen such that all three of them covaried two dimensions (luminance monotonicity and hue banding), hypothesized to have an impact on visual performance. We also analyzed subjective performance measures, such as user confidence, perceived accuracy, preference, and familiarity in using the different color scales. We found that monotonic luminance scales produced significantly more accurate judgments of magnitude difference but were not superior in spatial comparison tasks, and that hue banding had differential effects based on the task and conditions. Scientists expressed the highest preference and perceived confidence and accuracy with the rainbow, despite its poor performance on the magnitude comparison tasks. 
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  6. Objective

    To foster trial‐readiness of coenzyme Q8A (COQ8A)‐ataxia, we map the clinicogenetic, molecular, and neuroimaging spectrum of COQ8A‐ataxia in a large worldwide cohort, and provide first progression data, including treatment response to coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).


    Cross‐modal analysis of a multicenter cohort of 59 COQ8A patients, including genotype–phenotype correlations, 3D‐protein modeling, in vitro mutation analyses, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers, disease progression, and CoQ10 response data.


    Fifty‐nine patients (39 novel) with 44 pathogenicCOQ8Avariants (18 novel) were identified. Missense variants demonstrated a pleiotropic range of detrimental effects upon protein modeling and in vitro analysis of purified variants. COQ8A‐ataxia presented as variable multisystemic, early‐onset cerebellar ataxia, with complicating features ranging from epilepsy (32%) and cognitive impairment (49%) to exercise intolerance (25%) and hyperkinetic movement disorders (41%), including dystonia and myoclonus as presenting symptoms. Multisystemic involvement was more prevalent in missense than biallelic loss‐of‐function variants (82–93% vs 53%;p= 0.029). Cerebellar atrophy was universal on MRI (100%), with cerebral atrophy or dentate and pontine T2 hyperintensities observed in 28%. Cross‐sectional (n = 34) and longitudinal (n = 7) assessments consistently indicated mild‐to‐moderate progression of ataxia (SARA: 0.45/year). CoQ10 treatment led to improvement by clinical report in 14 of 30 patients, and by quantitative longitudinal assessments in 8 of 11 patients (SARA: −0.81/year). Explorative sample size calculations indicate that ≥48 patients per arm may suffice to demonstrate efficacy for interventions that reduce progression by 50%.


    This study provides a deeper understanding of the disease, and paves the way toward large‐scale natural history studies and treatment trials in COQ8A‐ataxia.ANN NEUROL 2020;88:251–263

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