Once upon a time, a picture was worth a thousand words. But with online news, blogs, and social media, a good picture can now be worth so much more. Economists who want to disseminate their research, both inside and outside the seminar room, should invest some time in thinking about how to construct compelling and effective graphics. An effective graph should tap into the brain’s “pre-attentive visual processing” (Few 2004; Healey and Enns 2012). Because our eyes detect a limited set of visual characteristics, such as shape or contrast, we easily combine those characteristics and unconsciously perceive them as an image. In contrast to “attentive processing” – the conscious part of perception that allows us to perceive things serially – pre-attentive processing is done in parallel and is much faster. Pre-attentive processing allows the reader to perceive multiple basic visual elements simultaneously…. An Economist’s Guide to Visualizing Data