Adaptive Contextualization Methods for Combating Selection Bias During High-Dimensional Visualization


Large and high-dimensional real-world datasets are being gathered across a wide range of application disciplines to enable data-driven decision making. Interactive data visualization can play a critical role in allowing domain experts to select and analyze data from these large collections. However, there is a critical mismatch between the very large number of dimensions in complex real-world datasets and the much smaller number of dimensions that can be concurrently visualized using modern techniques. This gap in dimensionality can result in high levels of selection bias that go unnoticed by users. The bias can in turn threaten the very validity of any subsequent insights. This article describes Adaptive Contextualization (AC), a novel approach to interactive visual data selection that is specifically designed to combat the invisible introduction of selection bias. The AC approach (1) monitors and models a user’s visual data selection activity, (2) computes metrics over that model to quantify the amount of selection bias after each step, (3) visualizes the metric results, and (4) provides interactive tools that help users assess and avoid bias-related problems. This article expands on an earlier article presented at ACM IUI 2016 by providing a more detailed review of the AC methodology and additional evaluation results.

ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (Volume 7, Number 4)