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Radiology. 1975 Sep;116(3):527-32.

Interpreting chest radiographs without visual search.


Ten radiologists were shown a series of 10 normal and 10 abnormal chest films under two viewing conditions: a 0.2-second flash and unlimited viewing time. The results were compared in terms of verbal content, diagnostic accuracy, and level of confidence. The overall accuracy was surprisingly high (70% true positives) considering that no search was possible. Performance improved as expected with free search (97% true positives). These data support the hypothesis that visual search begins with a global response that establishes content, detects gross deviations from normal, and organizes subsequent foveal checking fixations to conduct a detailed examination of ambiguities. The total search strategy then consists of an ordered sequence of interspersed global and checking fixations.

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