Scientific visualization, particularly of fluid flow, maps abstract characteristics of the data onto geometric structures that can be represented visually. The characteristics of those structures, in turn, are inferred by their perceived shape, color, surface properties, motion, etc. Virtual reality (VR) technology has the potential for enhancing the ability to discern subtle properties of those structures by recruiting a richer set of sensory tools such as stereopsis, positional interaction, and expanded peripheral vision. However, the perceived VR environment derives from several illusions created by the interaction between the display hardware and our sensory and cognitive systems. Understanding how one assigns properties to objects in that virtual world is critical for generating valid inferences about the underlying data. It also provides fascinating insight into our own role as a measuring device.

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