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JenniferRM comments on Bayes' Theorem Illustrated (My Way) - Less Wrong

126 Post author: komponisto 03 June 2010 04:40AM

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Comment author: JenniferRM 03 June 2010 05:29:23PM 4 points [-]

I was thinking about that too. Its actually something that comes up with the literature on "lying with statistics" where (either accidentally or out of a more or less subconscious attempt to convince) figures representing numbers are rescaled by a linear factor by the author causing super linear adjustments of area which is what the reader's visual processing really responds to.

Generally, textbooks recommend boring linear scales (basically bar charts) with an unbroken reference line off to the side to compare numbers. However, if you really want to use images with area (and for this article they're a brilliant addition) then the correct thing to do is to decide the number you're representing as the area and work back to the number you have access to for a given figure (like a circle radius or a pentagon edge length or whatever) and adjust that number to your calculated value.