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Front Psychol. 2015 Dec 1;6:1782. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01782. eCollection 2015.

Thinking Outside the Box: Developing Dynamic Data Visualizations for Psychology with Shiny.

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Department of Psychology, Lancaster University Lancaster, UK.
School of Psychology, University of Lincoln Lincoln, UK.


The study of human perception has helped psychologists effectively communicate data rich stories by converting numbers into graphical illustrations and data visualization remains a powerful means for psychology to discover, understand, and present results to others. However, despite an exponential rise in computing power, the World Wide Web, and ever more complex data sets, psychologists often limit themselves to static visualizations. While these are often adequate, their application across professional psychology remains limited. This is surprising as it is now possible to build dynamic representations based around simple or complex psychological data sets. Previously, knowledge of HTML, CSS, or Java was essential, but here we develop several interactive visualizations using a simple web application framework that runs under the R statistical platform: Shiny. Shiny can help researchers quickly produce interactive data visualizations that will supplement and support current and future publications. This has clear benefits for researchers, the wider academic community, students, practitioners, and interested members of the public.


R; Shiny; knowledge-exchange; research methods; statistics; visualization

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