Welcome to the Schloss Visual Reasoning Lab! We are part of the Department of Psychology and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Virtual Environments Group at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  Our lab aims to understand how people use visual reasoning for visual communication.  We study how people form associations between visual features (e.g., color, shape) and concepts, and how they use those associations to interpret meanings of visual features in information visualizations (e.g., graphs, maps, diagrams, signs). Our lab also investigates how to increase engagement in science through immersive experiences in scientific visualizations using virtual reality. Our work can be translated to making visual communication more effective and efficient.


Color-concept associations
Color-concept associations
Quantify and explain color-concept associations
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Information Visualization
Information Visualization
Explain how people infer meaning from visual features
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Color Preference
Color Preference
Understand the nature and origin of color preferences
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UW Virtual Brain Project™
UW Virtual Brain Project™
Develop VR experiences to make science engaging
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Latest News

Christopher Thorstenson to RIT

He has been appointed to a tenure-track position in Color Science at Rochester Institute of Technology starting in Fall 2021.


PI Karen Schloss received an NSF CAREER award to advance the understanding of visual reasoning for visual communication.

Congrats to Autumn Wickman!

Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholar Award from the UW-Madison Department of Psychology.

Featured Publications

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Mapping color to meaning in colormap data visualizations

Schloss, K. B., Gramazio, C. C., Silverman, A. T., Parker, M., L., & Wang, A. S.

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics

Blue hues don’t bring the blues: questioning conventional notions of color-emotion associations

Schloss, K. B., Witzel, C., & Lai, L. Y.

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Estimating Color-Concept Associations from Image Statistics

Rathore, R., Leggon, Z., Lessard, L., Schloss, K. B. 

EEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics