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16 April 1997 Acquiring skill at medical image inspection: learning localized in early visual processes
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Abstract
Acquisition of the skill of medical image inspection could be due to changes in visual search processes, 'low-level' sensory learning, and higher level 'conceptual learning.' Here, we report two studies that investigate the extent to which learning in medical image inspection involves low- level learning. Early in the visual processing pathway cells are selective for direction of luminance contrast. We exploit this in the present studies by using transfer across direction of contrast as a 'marker' to indicate the level of processing at which learning occurs. In both studies twelve observers trained for four days at detecting features in x- ray images (experiment one equals discs in the Nijmegen phantom, experiment two equals micro-calcification clusters in digitized mammograms). Half the observers examined negative luminance contrast versions of the images and the remainder examined positive contrast versions. On the fifth day, observers swapped to inspect their respective opposite contrast images. In both experiments leaning occurred across sessions. In experiment one, learning did not transfer across direction of luminance contrast, while in experiment two there was only partial transfer. These findings are consistent with the contention that some of the leaning was localized early in the visual processing pathway. The implications of these results for current medical image inspection training schedules are discussed.
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Paul T. Sowden, Ian R. L. Davies, Penny Roling, and Simon J. Watt "Acquiring skill at medical image inspection: learning localized in early visual processes", Proc. SPIE 3036, Medical Imaging 1997: Image Perception, (16 April 1997); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.271302
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