Thinking outside the box: developing dynamic data visualizations for psychology with Shiny

David Alexander Ellis, Hannah Merdian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue number1782
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2015 Ellis and Merdian. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • visualization
  • knoweldge-exchange
  • Research Methods
  • statistics,
  • r
  • shiny


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