This study examines Wickens' compatibility of proximity hypothesis of visual display design and proposes that an emergent-features approach might carry more explanatory power. Two studies show that a bar graph display is superior to an object display in an integration task if the bar graph has a strong emergent feature that maps directly onto a goal-relevant task invariant. Earlier results by Wickens and colleagues showing an object display advantage could not be replicated or generalized. These new findings suggest that object display advantages occur only under limited conditions and that the exploitation of emergent features may more predictably lead to an advantage of one display over another.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_flach/74/