Spotting lesions in thorax X-rays at a glance: holistic processing in radiology

Bilalić, Merim, Grottenthaler, Thomas, Nägele, Thomas and Lindig, Tobias (2022) Spotting lesions in thorax X-rays at a glance: holistic processing in radiology. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 7 (1). p. 99. ISSN 2365-7464

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Radiologists often need only a glance to grasp the essence of complex medical images. Here, we use paradigms and manipulations from perceptual learning and expertise fields to elicit mechanisms and limits of holistic processing in radiological expertise. In the first experiment, radiologists were significantly better at categorizing thorax X-rays when they were presented for 200 ms in an upright orientation than when they were presented upside-down. Medical students, in contrast, were guessing in both situations. When the presentation time was increased to 500 ms, allowing for a couple more glances, the radiologists improved their performance on the upright stimuli, but remained at the same level on the inverted presentation. The second experiment circumvented the holistic processing by immediately cueing a tissue within the X-rays, which may or may not contain a nodule. Radiologists were again better than medical students at recognizing whether the cued tissue was a nodule, but this time neither the inverted presentation nor additional time affected their performance. Our study demonstrates that holistic processing is most likely a continuous recurring process which is just as susceptible to the inversion effect as in other expertise domains. More importantly, our study also indicates that holistic-like processing readily occurs in complex stimuli (e.g., whole thorax X-rays) but is more difficult to find in uniform single parts of such stimuli (e.g., nodules).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Expertise, Global impression, Holistic processing, Inversion effect, Radiology
Subjects: B100 Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2022 12:25
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2022 12:30

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