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12 May 2005 On the relationship between human search strategies, conspicuity, and search performance
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We determined the relationship between search performance with a limited field of view (FOV) and several scanning- and scene parameters in human observer experiments. The observers (38 trained army scouts) searched through a large search sector for a target (a camouflaged person) on a heath. From trial to trial the target appeared at a different location. With a joystick the observers scanned through a panoramic image (displayed on a PC-monitor) while the scan path was registered. Four conditions were run differing in sensor type (visual or thermal infrared) and window size (large or small). In conditions with a small window size the zoom option could be used. Detection performance was highly dependent on zoom factor and deteriorated when scan speed increased beyond a threshold value. Moreover, the distribution of scan speeds scales with the threshold speed. This indicates that the observers are aware of their limitations and choose a (near) optimal search strategy. We found no correlation between the fraction of detected targets and overall search time for the individual observers, indicating that both are independent measures of individual search performance. Search performance (fraction detected, total search time, time in view for detection) was found to be strongly related to target conspicuity. Moreover, we found the same relationship between search performance and conspicuity for visual and thermal targets. This indicates that search performance can be predicted directly by conspicuity regardless of the sensor type.
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Maarten A. Hogervorst, Piet Bijl, and Alexander Toet "On the relationship between human search strategies, conspicuity, and search performance", Proc. SPIE 5784, Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XVI, (12 May 2005);

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