Steven Franconeri
Steven L. Franconeri

Professor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences
Professor of Leadership (Courtesy)

Print Overview

Steven Franconeri is leading scientist, teacher, and speaker on visual thinking, visual communication, and the psychology of data visualization. He is a Professor of Psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences at Northwestern, Director of the Northwestern Cognitive Science Program, as well as a Kellogg Professor of Management & Organizations by Courtesy. He is the director of the Visual Thinking Laboratory, where a team of researchers explore how leveraging the visual system - the largest single system in your brain - can help people think, remember, and communicate more efficiently. 

His undergraduate training was in computer science and cognitive science at Rutgers University, followed by a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University, and postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia. His work on both Cognitive Science and Data Visualization has been funded by the National Science Foundation, as well as the Department of Education, and the Department of Defense. He has received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award, given to researchers who combine excellent research with outstanding teaching, and he has received a Psychonomic Society Early Career award for his research on visual thinking.

Print Vita
Ph.D., 2004, Cognition, Brain, & Behavior, Harvard University, Harvard University
M.A., 2001, Psychology; Cognition, Brain, & Behavior, Harvard University, Harvard University
B.A., 1999, Cognitive Science and Computer Science, Rutgers University, Rutgers University

Academic Positions
Professor, Psychology, Northwestern University, 2015-present
Associate Professor, Psychology, Northwestern University, 2012-2015
Assistant Professor, Psychology, Northwestern University, 2006-2012
Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia, 2004-2006
Research Assistant, Rutgers University, 1996-1999

Honors and Awards
Early Career Award, Psychonomic Society, 2013
CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2011
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Izaak Walton Killam Memorial, 2004-2006
Graduate Fellowship, National Defense Science and Engineering, 2001-2004
Certificates of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University, 2000-2001
Phi Beta Kappa, 1999

Print Research
Research Interests
Visual Thinking & Communication Graph Comprehension Data Visualization

Xu, Y. Q., Satoru Suzuki and Steven L. Franconeri. 2013. Shifting selection may control apparent motion. Psychological Science. 24(10): 2131.
Choo, H and Steven L. Franconeri. 2013. Enumeration of small collections violates Weber's Law. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 21: 93-99.
Franconeri, Steven L., G. A. Alvarez and P. C. Cavanagh. 2013. Flexible cognitive resources: Competitive content maps for attention and memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 17(3): 134-141.
Gleicher, M., M. Correll, C Nothelfer and Steven L. Franconeri. 2013. Perception of average value in multiclass scatterplots. Proceedings of VIZ.
Harrison, L., D. Skau, Steven L. Franconeri, A. Lu and R. Chang. 2013. Influencing visual judgment through affective priming. Proceedings of ACM CHI 2013.
Xu, Y. Q., S. O'Keefe, Satoru Suzuki and Steven L. Franconeri. 2012. Vision influences haptic judgments of weight. Perception. 41(7): 862-870.
Franconeri, Steven L., Z. W. Pylyshyn and B. J. Scholl. 2012. Spatiotemporal cues for tracking multiple objects through occlusion. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 74: 691-702.
Roth, J. and Steven L. Franconeri. 2012. Representations of spatial relationships may be asymmetric for both language and vision. Frontiers in Cognition. 3: 464.
Franconeri, Steven L., J. M. Scimeca, J. Roth, S. A. Helseth and L. Kahn. 2012. Flexible visual processing of spatial relationships. Cognition. 112: 210-227.
O'Hearn, K., Steven L. Franconeri, C. Wright, N. Minshew and B. Luna. 2012. The development of Individuation in Autism. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 39(2): 494-509.
Xu, Y. Q. and Steven L. Franconeri. 2012. The head of the table: The location of the spotlight of attention may determine the . Journal of Neuroscience. 32(4): 1408-1412.
Choo, H, B. Levinthal and Steven L. Franconeri. 2012. Average orientation is more accessible through boundary features than surface features. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 381(3): 585-588.
Correll, M., D. Albers, Steven L. Franconeri and M. Gleicher. 2012. Comparative averaging of time series data. Proceedings of ACM CHI 2012, Austin, TX.
Bebko, G. M., Steven L. Franconeri, K. N. Ochsner and Joan Chiao. 2011. Look before you regulate: Differential perceptual strategies underlying expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal. Emotion. 11(4): 732-742.
Levinthal, Daniel and Steven L. Franconeri. 2011. Common fate grouping as feature selection. Psychological Science. 22(9): 1132-1137.
Choo, H and Steven L. Franconeri. 2010. Visual size averaging of objects unavailable to conscious awareness. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 72: 86-99.
Hollingworth, A., D. J. Simons and Steven L. Franconeri. 2010. New objects do not capture attention without a sensory transient. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 72: 1298-1310.
Franconeri, Steven L., S. Jonathan and J. M. Scimeca. 2010. Tracking multiple objects is limited only by spatial interference, not speed, time, or capacity. Psychological Science. 21: 920-925.
Parrott, S., B. Levinthal and Steven L. Franconeri. 2010. Complex attentional control settings. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 15: 1-8.
Iordanescu, L., M. Grabowecky, Steven L. Franconeri, J. Theeuwes and Satoru Suzuki. 2010. Characteristic sounds make you look at targets faster in visual search. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 72(7): 1736-1741.
Franconeri, Steven L., D. K. Bemis and G. A. Alvarez. 2009. Number estimation relies on a set of segmented objects. Cognition. 113: 1-13.
Guzman-Martinez, E., P. Leung, Steven L. Franconeri, M. Grabowecky and Satoru Suzuki. 2009. Rapid eye-fixation training without eye tracking. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 16: 491-496.
Brockmole, J. R. and Steven L. Franconeri. 2009. Introduction to the special issue on Binding. Visual Cognition. 17: 1-8.
Hollingworth, A. and Steven L. Franconeri. 2009. Object Correspondence across Brief Occlusion Is Established on the Basis of both Spatiotemporal and Surface Feature Cues. Cognition. 113: 150-166.
Lin, J. Y., Steven L. Franconeri and J. T. Enns. 2008. Objects on a collision path with the observer demand attention. Psychological Science. 19(7)
Franconeri, Steven L., J. Y. Lin, Z. W. Pylyshyn, B. F. Fisher and J. T. Enns. 2008. Evidence against a speed limit in multiple object tracking. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 15(4): 802-808.
Alvarez, G. A. and Steven L. Franconeri. 2007. How many objects can you track? Evidence for a resource-limited tracking mechanism. Journal of Vision. 7(13): 1-10.
Franconeri, Steven L., G. A. Alvarez and J. T. Enns. 2007. How many locations can you select?. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 33(5): 1003-1012.
Simons, D. J., S. R. Mitroff and Steven L. Franconeri. 2006. Implicit and explicit representations in scene perception.
Franconeri, Steven L., A. Hollingworth and D. J. Simons. 2005. Do new objects capture attention?. Psychological Science. 16(4): 275-281.
Franconeri, Steven L. and D. J. Simons. 2005. What dynamic signals capture attention: A reply to Abrams & Christ. Perception & Psychophysics. 67(6): 962-966.
Franconeri, Steven L., D. J. Simons and J. A. Junge. 2004. Searching for stimulus-driven shifts of attention. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 11(5): 876-881.
Franconeri, Steven L. and D. J. Simons. 2003. Moving and looming stimuli capture attention. Perception & Psychophysics. 65(6): 1-12.
Mitroff, S. R., D. J. Simons and Steven L. Franconeri. 2002. The siren song of implicit change detection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 28(4): 798-815.
Simons, D. J., Steven L. Franconeri and R. L. Reimer. 2000. Change blindness in the absence of a visual disruption. Perception. 29: 1143-1154.
Working Papers
Correll, M., D. Albers, Steven L. Franconeri and M. Gleicher. 2012. Color weaving for visual averaging in time series data.
Tam, D., B. Levinthal and Steven L. Franconeri. Feature selection as a mechanism for color similarity grouping.
Choo, H and Steven L. Franconeri. Hemifield modulation of approximate number judgments.
Scimeca, J. M. and Steven L. Franconeri. Selecting and tracking multiple objects.
Franconeri, Steven L., S. A. Helseth, H. Park, S. Jonathan, P. Mok, G. A. Alvarez and J. T. Enns. Mechanisms of multiple location selection.
Franconeri, Steven L., D. K. Bemis, G. A. Alvarez and H. Park. Common motion grouping may not occur for more than one group at a time: Evidence from a rapid enumeration task.
Xu, Y. Q., Satoru Suzuki and Steven L. Franconeri. Directing selective attention influences the perception of apparent motion.
Franconeri, Steven L., J. Roth, L. Kahn, J. M. Scimeca and S. A. Helseth. Language guides vision, even during simple perceptual routines.
Franconeri, Steven L., X. Xiao and D. K. Bemis. Similarity grouping creates only one group at a time: Evidence from number estimation tasks.
Scimeca, J. M., S. Jonathan and Steven L. Franconeri. Maintaining selection of multiple objects.
Schurgin, M., J. Nelson, S. Iida, H. Ohira, Joan Chiao and Steven L. Franconeri. Characteristic fixation patterns when judging emotions in faces.
Bebko, G. M., Steven L. Franconeri, K. N. Ochsner and Joan Chiao. Forthcoming. Attentional deployment is not necessary for successful emotion regulation via cognitive reappraisal or expressive suppression. Emotion.
Xu, Y. Q. and Steven L. Franconeri. The capacity of mental rotation.
Parrott, S., M. Maita, P. Shah, D. H. Uttal and Steven L. Franconeri. Manipulating attention over time can change the conclusions drawn from a 2-bar graph.
Levinthal, B. and Steven L. Franconeri. Split attention is limited by competition among multiple spotlights.
Xu, Y. Q. and Steven L. Franconeri. Shifts of spatial attention cause changes in object structure.
Franconeri, Steven L., J. Roth, L. Kahn, J. M. Scimeca and S. A. Helseth. Attentional selection is sequential for spatial relation judgments, but not for same-different judgments.
Wegbreit, E., Steven L. Franconeri and M. Beeman. Forthcoming. Mood can spread or focus attention in feature space. Cognition & Emotion.
Kahn, L. and Steven L. Franconeri. Sequential encoding of spatial relationships: Evidence from eyetracking.
Liverence, B. M., G. A. Alvarez and Steven L. Franconeri. The magic number 4 in visual attention.
Choo, H and Steven L. Franconeri. Relation binding deficits during rapid spatial relationship judgments.
Book Chapters
Franconeri, Steven L.. 2013. "The nature and status of visual resources." In Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Psychology, edited by Reisberg, D., Oxford University Press.
Franconeri, Steven L.. 2009. "Attention Capture." In The Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology, edited by Matsumoto, D., Cambridge University Press.
Brockmole, J. R. and Steven L. Franconeri. 2009. Binding: A Special Issue of the Journal Visual Cognition. New York: Psychology Press.

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Whole-Brain Communication (DSGN-426-0)
Present your ideas and solutions – and the data that motivates them – in a manner that is engaging, clear, and memorable. Presentations and explanations typically overwhelm an audience’s limited capacity for new information, by directing it to a limited part of the brain. Learn to communicate to the whole brain, by turning verbal messages to salient visuals, expressing abstract numbers as sensorimotor objects, leveraging existing association networks, and telling immersive stories. Learn to perform data analytics with the power of your visual system (including a primer on Tableau), and how to show the patterns that you discover to others. Techniques will be grounded in cognitive science – why our brains are limited in perceiving, learning, and storing information – as well as research in data visualization, and principles of graphic design. Course grading will be based on projects, quizzes on readings, class attendance & participation, and peer critiques.

Visualization for Persuasion (KACI-925-5)
Be persuasive in presenting your ideas. Learn to convince your clients, customers, and colleagues of the merits of your views, using the latest breakthroughs in cognitive science, computer science, and graphic design. Through interactive exercises, the course will provide hands-on experience and tools for presenting data-based evidence with impact, across images, graphics, and visualizations of big data. Leave this course with expertise in the principles of effective data visualization, as well as a practical toolkit for conveying your ideas in ways that are convincing, catchy, and contagious.

Executive MBA
Visualization for Persuasion (KACIX-925-0)

Executive Education
Leading with Big Data and Analytics: From Insight to Action

Sophisticated subject matter in an easy-to-understand, accessible format equips executives with the working knowledge needed to seize opportunities that business analytics presents, develop a big data strategy and put data analytics to practical use.

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The Strategy of Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Influence

Your success as a leader ultimately depends on persuading others to adopt and run with your winning ideas. This program combines cutting-edge behavioral research with compelling interactive learning to improve your ability to work with and through others to drive business success.

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