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The Role of Prototyping in Design and Policy Making: Visual Stimuli, Selective Attention, and Decision Making

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Approaches to Curriculum and Policy

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Hadi Ali Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

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Hadi Ali is a doctoral student in Engineering Education Systems and Design at Arizona State University.

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This is a theory paper. In this study, we integrate research on visual stimuli, selective attention and decision making to explore the role of data prototyping in design and policy making, in the context of education. The ultimate goal is to investigate a high-end, sophisticated decision-making tool that is being developed to be used in a decision theater (DT) where multiple state stakeholders come around the tool to make decisions related to education policies in the State. As an engineering research method, we explore the reciprocal relationship between “selective attention” and “emotions” as cognitive processes that serve, in the individual, as precursors to the social aspect of decision making in the setting of DT. Previous research work has tested the hypotheses of how attention can override discrimination in decision making; and studied the three executive functions (inhibiting, shifting and updating) in relation to intelligence. In this work we are investigating how attention to certain features in a data visualization affect decision making related to educational policy in a social setting. Previous research work has provided ample evidence that emotional stimuli modulates attention. In this work we are investigating the reverse relationship; more specifically, how attention to certain features in a data visualization influences affective judgement, and consequently, decision making related to educational policy. We explore how prior attentional state drives emotional state in the study of data visualization as it relates to education policy making. Implications shed light on perspectives related to the way we interact with a large set of data visualizations. Consider, for example, a situation where a decision needs to be made based on a collection of different data visualizations, representing data from different sources and through different representation media. One may wonder whether the attention to a certain “screen” or “exhibit” may drive the conclusions that one wishes to reach. Furthermore, in an educational policy making setting, the notion of “emotional states” become important, where emotion, as the studied aspect of the human behavior, is viewed as a “process” that evaluates current and future goals. It is clearly demarcated from attention which is viewed as a “brain process” that actively determines what and where objects are. This connection between, on the one hand, attention as a rational process, and, on the other hand, emotion as a consequential process, is something that needs to be explored in the context of data visualizations and decision making. Implications would affect our understanding of conventional marketing strategies of certain policy making in education.

Ali, H. (2020, June), The Role of Prototyping in Design and Policy Making: Visual Stimuli, Selective Attention, and Decision Making Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35364

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