2D Icon Plots

 Icon graphs represent cases or units of observation as multidimensional symbols, and they offer a powerful exploratory data analysis technique.

The general idea behind this method capitalizes on the human ability to "automatically" spot complex (sometimes interactive) relations between multiple variables if those relations are consistent across a set of instances (in this case "icons"). Sometimes the observation (or a "feeling") that certain instances are "somehow similar" to each other comes before the observer (in this case an analyst) can articulate which specific variables are responsible for the observed consistency (Lewicki, Hill, & Czyzewska, 1992). However, further analysis that focuses on such intuitively spotted consistencies can reveal the specific nature of the relevant relations between variables.

The basic idea of icon plots is to represent individual units of observation as particular graphical objects where values of variables are assigned to specific features or dimensions of the objects (usually one case = one object). The assignment is such that the overall appearance of the object changes as a function of the configuration of values.

Thus, the objects are given visual "identities" that are unique for configurations of values and that can be identified by the observer. Examining such icons can help to discover specific clusters of both simple relations and interactions between variables

STATISTICA provides a variety of graph types for icon plots including Chernoff faces, Pies, Stars, Sunrays, Polygons, Columns, Lines, and Profiles. For more information on these types of graphs, see Conceptual Overviews - Icon Plots.

See also, Scatter Icon Plots, Graphs - Icon Plots, and the Conceptual Overview for Icon Plots.