Searching for Lung Nodules: Visual Dwell Indicates Locations of False-Positive and False-Negative Decisions

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Eye position recording made while radiologists searched chest images for lung nodules showed that regions falsely reported positive or suspicious received prolonged visual attention. Correlation of regional fixation dwell time with independent rating of image features indicated that more than 90% of false-positive decisions were caused by some perturbation in the image that aroused the suspicion of the viewer. The remainder apparently arose from within the viewer. Most missed nodules (false-negative reports) also received prolonged visual attention, implying an active decision not to perceive a nodule. The data are interpreted to show that roughly one task-related decision is made during each second of scanning a radiograph. This departs from the central assumption of the traditional signal-detection model based upon one decision per image.

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