Radiologists can identify whether a radiograph is abnormal or normal at above chance levels in breast and lung images presented for half a second or less. This early perceptual processing has only been demonstrated in static two-dimensional images (e.g., mammograms). Can radiologists rapidly extract the “gestalt” from more complex imaging modalities? For example, prostate multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) displays a series of images as a virtual stack and comprises multiple imaging sequences: anatomical information from the T2-weighted (T2W) sequence, functional information from diffusion-weighted imaging, and apparent diffusion coefficient sequences. We first tested rapid perceptual processing in static T2W images then among the two functional sequences. Finally, we examined whether this rapid radiological perception could be observed using T2W multislice imaging. Readers with experience in prostate mpMRI could detect and localize lesions in all sequences after viewing a 500-ms static image. Experienced prostate readers could also detect and localize lesions when viewing multislice image stacks presented as brief movies, with image slices presented at either 48, 96, or 144 ms. The ability to quickly extract the perceptual gestalt may be a general property of expert perception, even in complex imaging modalities.
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