A1 Journal article – refereed

The Effect of Expertise on Eye Movement Behaviour in Medical Image Perception

List of Authors: Bertram R, Helle L, Kaakinen JK, Svedström E

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Publication year: 2013

Journal: PLoS ONE

Journal name in source: PLOS ONE

Journal acronym: PLOS ONE

Number in series: 6

Volume number: 8

Issue number: 6

Number of pages: 15

ISSN: 1932-6203

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0066169

URL: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0066169

The present eye-movement study assessed the effect of expertise on eye-movement behaviour during image perception in the medical domain. To this end, radiologists, computed-tomography radiographers and psychology students were exposed to nine volumes of multi-slice, stack-view, axial computed-tomography images from the upper to the lower part of the abdomen with or without abnormality. The images were presented in succession at low, medium or high speed, while the participants had to detect enlarged lymph nodes or other visually more salient abnormalities. The radiologists outperformed both other groups in the detection of enlarged lymph nodes and their eye-movement behaviour also differed from the other groups. Their general strategy was to use saccades of shorter amplitude than the two other participant groups. In the presence of enlarged lymph nodes, they increased the number of fixations on the relevant areas and reverted to even shorter saccades. In volumes containing enlarged lymph nodes, radiologists' fixation durations were longer in comparison to their fixation durations in volumes without enlarged lymph nodes. More salient abnormalities were detected equally well by radiologists and radiographers, with both groups outperforming psychology students. However, to accomplish this, radiologists actually needed fewer fixations on the relevant areas than the radiographers. On the basis of these results, we argue that expert behaviour is manifested in distinct eye-movement patterns of proactivity, reactivity and suppression, depending on the nature of the task and the presence of abnormalities at any given moment.

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