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Health Psychol. 1995 Mar;14(2):171-7.

Visual discrimination of pigmented skin lesions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.


Three experiments explored human performance in discrimination of pigmented skin lesions from photographic slides. Experiment 1 showed that latent ability in identifying early melanoma was low, and some benign lesions tended to be falsely identified as serious. Performance overall did not decline when viewing time was reduced, suggesting that judgments could be made on the general appearance of lesions. Experiment 2 showed that enlargement of stimuli had no effect. Experiment 3 showed that performance was better with pictorial examples than with written descriptions for some classes of lesion, but for melanoma performance improved with longer viewing time when information was provided, suggesting that an opportunity to scrutinize could be beneficial. Guidelines to the public should distinguish melanoma from benign lesions and stress the importance of seeking prompt medical attention for suspicious lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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