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Eric Chantland, Mark Becker; The Impact of Performance-Based Pay and Competition on Rare Target Search Performance. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1251. doi: 10.1167/18.10.1251.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When performing a visual search for rare targets, people are quick to respond target absent - indicative of a lower "quitting threshold." As a result, they often miss rare targets - the low-prevalence effect. This finding may have important implications for consequential real-world searches with rare targets (e.g., baggage and cancer screening). As a result, there have been many attempts to modify rare target search tasks to improve target detection. For the most part, these attempts have failed to increase hit rates or increases in hit rates have been accompanied by increases in false alarms– a sign of a change in decision criterion rather than sensitivity. Here we investigate whether two techniques designed to increase motivation would increase rare target search performance. In a 2 x 2 between subjects design we manipulated performance-based pay and competition with another participant. When participants competed against another participant (competing "for sport" or for monetary reward) hit rates increased (without an increase in false alarm rates) and target absent reaction times slowed (indicative of higher quitting thresholds). Performance-based pay did not improve search. In sum, having searchers compete may improve rare target search, even when the competition is simply for "bragging rights."
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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