Remodeling the theory of cognitive fit in decision making: acknowledging individual influences

Lisa Perkhofer, Othmar M. Lehner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contributionpeer-review


As the theory of cognitive fit does not give a valid explanation of which factors are of importance, no clear guidelines for choosing and designing the right visualization for a specific task can be deduced so far. This paper sets out to further our understanding of how individual factors influence information processing and as a consequence decision making while viewing visualizations. Using a controlled longitudinal experimental setting (leading to 4,460 individual observations), this study first provides evidence for the need to include visual complexity, task complexity, data complexity as well as individual complexity into a predictive model for the perceptual efficiency of information visualizations, and second suggests an enhanced structural model, showing a significant increase in predictive value over the previous simple task complexity/visualization model introduced by Vessey and later Speier. The predictive power of this model is enhanced by including data density, knowledge, experience, time of day, as well as spatial ability, with R² 0.344 rising to 0.439 and Q2 0.357 rising to 0.437.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings in Finance and Risk Series'15
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015
Event15th Finance, Risk and Accounting Perspectives (FRAP15) - Steyr, Austria
Duration: 19 Oct 201521 Oct 2015


Conference15th Finance, Risk and Accounting Perspectives (FRAP15)
Internet address


  • cognitive fit
  • information visualization
  • task complexity
  • PLS
  • structural equation modelling


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