Traditional visual search vs. X-ray image inspection in students and professionals: Are the same visual-cognitive abilities needed?
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The act of looking for targets amongst an array of distractors is a cognitive task that has been studied extensively over many decades and has many real-world applications. Research shows that specific visual-cognitive abilities are needed to efficiently and effectively locate a target among distractors. It is, however, not always clear whether the results from traditional, simplified visual search tasks conducted by students will extrapolate to an applied inspection tasks in which professionals search for targets that are more complex, ambiguous, and less salient. More concretely, there are several potential challenges when interpreting traditional visual search results in terms of their implications for the X-ray image inspection task. In this study, we tested whether a theoretical intelligence model with known facets of visual-cognitive abilities (visual processing Gv, short-term memory Gsm, and processing speed Gs) can predict performance in both a traditional visual search task and an X-ray image inspection task in both students and professionals. Results showed that visual search ability as measured with a traditional visual search task is not comparable to an applied X-ray image inspection task. Even though both tasks require aspects of the same visual-cognitive abilities, the overlap between the tasks was small. We concluded that different aspects of visual-cognitive abilities predict performance on the measured tasks. Furthermore, although our tested populations were comparable in terms of performance predictors based on visual-cognitive abilities, professionals outperformed students on an applied X-ray image inspection task. Hence, inferences from our research questions have to be treated with caution, because the comparability of the two populations depends on the task.
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Traditional visual search versus X-ray image inspection in students and professionals: Are the same visual-cognitive abilities needed? Visual search has been studied extensively over decades and has many real-world applications. Research shows that specific visual-cognitive abilities are needed to efficiently and effectively locate a target among distractors. ...