Date of Award


Degree Type



Monte Ahuja College of Business

First Advisor

Henry, Raymond

Subject Headings

Information visualization -- Data processing, Business intelligence, Decision support systems, Psychology, Industrial, Eye tracking, Cognitive maps (Psychology), Cognitive effort Data representation Cognitive fit Decision performance Eye tracking Business information visualization Need for Cognition


A major goal of Decision Support (DSS) and Business Intelligence (BI) systems is to aid decision makers in their decision performance by reducing effort. One critical part of those systems is their data representation component of visually intensive applications such as dashboards and data visualization. The existing research led to a number of theoretical approaches that explain decision performance through data representation's impact on users' cognitive effort, with Cognitive Fit Theory (CFT) being the most influential theoretical lens. However, available CFT-based literature findings are inconclusive and there is a lack of research that actually attempts to measure cognitive effort, the mechanism underlying CFT and CFT-based literature. This research is the first one to directly measure cognitive effort in Cognitive Fit and Business Information Visualization context and the first one to evaluate both self-reported and physiological measures of cognitive effort. The research provides partial support for CFT by confirming that task characteristics and data representation do influence cognitive effort. This influence is pronounced for physiological measures of cognitive effort while it minimal for self-reported measure of cognitive effort. While cognitive effort was found to have an impact on decision time, this research suggests caution is assuming that task-representation fit is influencing decision accuracy. Furthermore, this level of impact varies between self-reported and physiological cognitive effort and is influenced by task complexity. Research provides extensive cognitive fit theory, business information visualization and cognitive effort literature review along with implications of the findings for both research and practice

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Business Commons