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Nature. 2005 May 26;435(7041):439-40.

Cognitive psychology: rare items often missed in visual searches.

Author information

1
Visual Attention Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02139, USA. wolfe@search.bwh.harvard.edu

Abstract

Our society relies on accurate performance in visual screening tasks--for example, to detect knives in luggage or tumours in mammograms. These are visual searches for rare targets. We show here that target rarity leads to disturbingly inaccurate performance in target detection: if observers do not find what they are looking for fairly frequently, they often fail to notice it when it does appear.

PMID:
15917795
PMCID:
PMC4224304
DOI:
10.1038/435439a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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