Steven Franconeri Professor

Program Area(s):



Visual Cognition

Research Interests

Within both the natural world and constructed displays, our visual system transforms a raw image into objects and relations. Our laboratory explores this transformation: how we group objects together, how we count, how we know whether one object is larger, brighter or farther to the right than another, how we track objects over space & time, and why our visual system encounters limitations in how many things we can process at once.

Our lab strives to explore fundamental questions that also have real-world relevance. We collaborate with researchers in education (e.g. graph & diagram comprehension) and computer science (e.g. comparison within information visualization). These collaborations allow us to impact students and scientists, and their unsolved problems help us identify gaps in our theoretical knowledge.

Selected Publications (See lab page for all publications)

Haroz, S., Kosara, R., & Franconeri, S. L. (2015). ISOTYPE Visualization – Working Memory, Cognitive Load, and Engagement with Pictographs. Proceedings of ACM CHI 2015. 

Salvi, C., Bricolo, E., Franconeri, S. L., Kounios, J., Beeman, M. (2015). Sudden insight is associated with shutting out visual inputs. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, (pagination pending).

Xu, Y. Q. & Franconeri S. L. (2015). The capacity for visual features in mental rotation. Psychological Science, 26(8), 1241-1251. 

Harrison, L., Yang, F., Franconeri, S., Chang, R. (2014). Ranking Visualizations of Correlation Using Weber's Law. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, (TVCG/Proc. of Infovis '14). 

Choo, H. & Franconeri, S. L. (2013). Enumeration of small collections violates Weber's Law. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 93-99.

Xu, Y. Q., Suzuki, S., & Franconeri, S. L. (2013). Shifting selection may control apparent motion. Psychological Science, 24(10), 2131.

Franconeri, S. L.,  Alvarez, G. A., & Cavanagh, P. C. (2013). Flexible cognitive resources: Competitive content maps for attention and memory. Trends in Cognitive Science, 17(3), 134-141.

Xu, Y. Q. & Franconeri, S. L. (2012). The head of the table: The location of the spotlight of attention may determine the ‘front’ of ambiguous objects. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(4), 1408-1412.

Franconeri, S. L., Scimeca, J. M., Roth, J. C., Helseth, S. A., & Kahn, L. (2012). Flexible visual processing of spatial relationships. Cognition 112, 210-227.

Levinthal, B. & Franconeri, S. L. (2011). Common fate grouping as feature selection. Psychological Science 22(9), 1132-1137.

Franconeri, S. L., Jonathan, S., & Scimeca, J. M. (2010). Tracking multiple objects is limited only by object spacing, not speed, time, or capacity. Psychological Science, 21, 920-925.

Franconeri, S. L., Bemis, D. K., & Alvarez, G. A. (2009). Number estimation relies on a set of segmented objects. Cognition 113, 1-13.

Franconeri, S. L., Hollingworth, A., & Simons, D. J. (2005). Do new objects capture attention? Psychological Science 16(4), 275-281.