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Melissa Beck, Benjamin Martin, Emily Smitherman, Lorrie Gaschen; General and specific effects of expertise on change detection. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):946. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.8.946.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Expertise in a particular domain can bias visual attention and memory toward expertise relevant information. This bias is generally thought to be domain specific. That is, there are differences in the allocation of attention and memory for information relevant to the domain of expertise, but not for non-relevant information. In the current studies we examined biases in the allocation of attention for experts in radiology. Participants detected changes to real-world scenes and to radiographs. In Experiment 1, change detection performance on a one-shot change detection task was examined for undergraduates, 1st year veterinary medicine students and 4th year veterinary medicine students. There were no differences in performance on the real world scenes between groups, but 4th year veterinary students performed significantly better on the radiograph change detection task than the undergraduates. In Experiment 2, a flicker change detection task was used and the expert group consisted of veterinary doctors rather than veterinary students. Two novice groups were used in Experiment 2, psychology undergraduates and PhDs from the Psychology and Sociology departments. The accuracy data replicated Experiment 1; accuracy did not differ between novices and experts for the real-world scene change detection task and, experts were more accurate than novices on the radiograph change detection task. Interestingly, the reaction time data on the flicker task revealed an interaction between level of expertise and change detection task. That is, experts were faster at detecting changes in radiographs than in real world scenes and novices showed the opposite pattern. This interaction was caused not only by the experts detecting changes faster in the radiographs than the novices, but also by the experts detecting changes in the real-world scenes slower than the novices. This suggests a general effect of expertise that leads to a decrement in performance for non-domain specific information.
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