Making Happy(er) Maps: Leveraging Affective Color Congruence in Thematic Map Design
Maps of emotionally-laden topics are prominent in the media, from negative maps of gun violence to those depicting geographic trends of happiness. Despite the often emotive content of thematic maps, cartographic color guidelines still focus on kind of data (e.g., sequential; qualitative), and visual perception constraints. Yet colors—like data topics—have emotive connotations. Here, we report the results of a user study to assess the impact of affectively congruent colors—colors that share emotive qualities with the data they encode. Results demonstrate multiple impacts of affective congruence on map interpretation, including significant amplification of map-topic emotions.
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