Rational and Objectives. The goal of this study was to determine if radiologists possess superior visual search and analysis skills compared with those of laypeople. Materials and Methods. In two experiments, radiologists and laypeople searched one of two complex pictorial scenes for hidden targets. Eye position was recorded during the search. Two measures of performance were obtained: accuracy of detecting targets as measured by using alternative free response receiver operating characteristic analysis and visual search efficiency as measured by using eye position analysis. Results. There were no statistically significant differences in detection performance between radiologists and laypeople for either of the search tasks. Radiologists took longer on average to search the images and to first fixate on the targets than did the laypeople. For both groups, true-positive and false-positive decisions were associated with longer dwell times than true- negative decisions. As with radiology search tasks, false-negative decisions were also associated with longer dwell times than true-negative decisions. Conclusions. Performance on two visual search and detection tasks indicate that radiologists do not possess superior visual skills compared with laypeople. Radiology expertise is more likely to be a combination of specific visual and cognitive skills derived from medical training and experience in detecting and determining the diagnostic importance of radiographic findings.
- Diagnostic radiology
- Observer perfomance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging