Perceving data displayed through oscillatory motion

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The idea of using simple sinusoidal motion of data points in a multidimensional scatter plot is explored both through a constructive analysis and by means of three experimental studies. In the system described, data values can be mapped to any combination of frequency, relative phase and amplitude as well as point size, point gray value and the center of motion. Three experiments assess the efficiency of the three motion parameters and the other display parameters in displaying correlations. The results of the first experiment suggest that relative phase is the most useful of the motion parameters, it compares favorably with gray value and point size, although it is not as effective as position on the vertical axis (the conventional scatter plot). The second and third experiments measure interference between display variables. The results show that motion does interfere with data represented by position and gray value but a phase representation is better in this respect than a frequency representation. It is argued that many natural phenomena result in related objects, or parts of objects moving in phase and this may be why relative phase is an effective display method.