Showing people behind data: Does anthropomorphizing visualizations elicit more empathy for human rights data?

Jeremy Boy, Anshul Vikram Pandey, John Emerson, Margaret Satterthwaite, Oded Nov, Enrico Bertini

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    We investigate the impact of using anthropomorphized data graphics over standard charts on viewers' empathy for, and prosocial behavior toward suffering populations, in the context of human rights narratives. We present a series of experiments conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk, in which we compare various forms of anthropomorphized data graphics - ranging from a single human figure that 'fills up' to show proportional data, to separated groups of individual human beings - with a standard chart baseline. Each experiment uses two carefully crafted human rights data-driven stories to present the graphics. Contrary to our expectations, we consistently find that anthropomorphized data graphics and standard charts have very similar effects on empathy and prosocial behavior.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationCHI 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
    Subtitle of host publicationExplore, Innovate, Inspire
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Pages5462-5474
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9781450346559
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 2 2017
    Event2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2017 - Denver, United States
    Duration: May 6 2017May 11 2017

    Publication series

    NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
    Volume2017-May

    Other

    Other2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2017
    CountryUnited States
    CityDenver
    Period5/6/175/11/17

    Keywords

    • Anthropographics
    • Empathy
    • Human rights
    • Information visualization for the people
    • Prosocial behavior

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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  • Cite this

    Boy, J., Pandey, A. V., Emerson, J., Satterthwaite, M., Nov, O., & Bertini, E. (2017). Showing people behind data: Does anthropomorphizing visualizations elicit more empathy for human rights data? In CHI 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Explore, Innovate, Inspire (pp. 5462-5474). (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings; Vol. 2017-May). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025512