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28 March 2013 Is grandma like a lichen planus? The problem of image perception and knowledge retention in pathology
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Medicine is the science of acquiring a lot of obscure knowledge and the art of knowing when to apply it, even if only once in a physician’s lifetime. Although medical experts seem to have it all figured out, being significantly better and faster than trainees, many studies have suggested that it is not only the amount of knowledge – which comes with experience – that differentiates the experts, but it is also how the knowledge is structured in memory. To acquire new knowledge, trainees will first encode both ‘surface’ (i.e., irrelevant) and ‘structural’ (relevant) features, and repeated presentations of the material will allow for dismissal of the unimportant elements from memory. However, just because knowledge has been encoded it does not mean that it is safely guarded in the physician’s memory; as with any information, if it is not tended to, it will slowly decay, and eventually it may be completely forgotten. In this study we investigated knowledge retention in a specific sub-domain of Pathology which is rarely, if ever, used by trainees. We wanted to determine the relationship between the way long-term memory is accessed (i.e., through recognition or free recall) and trainee performance. We also sought to determine whether access to long-term memory through either mechanism led to better transfer of newly acquired knowledge to never before seen cases.
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Claudia Mello-Thoms, Elizabeth Legowski, and Eugene Tseytlin "Is grandma like a lichen planus? The problem of image perception and knowledge retention in pathology", Proc. SPIE 8673, Medical Imaging 2013: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 867309 (28 March 2013);

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