Incidental findings in relation to subsequent search misses in visual search
Incidental findings defined as valuable findings that are not searched purposely by the experts were originally discovered by radiologists. Despite the importance and great practical value of this phenomenon for visual search, it was almost not studied by cognitive psychologists and vision science experts. The current study aimed to examine experimentally incidental findings in visual search. The main objective was to clarify independence of incidental findings from subsequent search misses, another well-known visual search phenomenon. In order to do that, the standard experimental paradigm for detecting subsequent search misses was used. At the same time the stimuli material and tasks were created to closely fit the definition of incidental findings. The participants were asked to find the images of plastic bags and paper wastes (targets) among the images of leaves and snags (distractors) on the computer screen in a simulated “garbage collection” task. Their accuracy and reaction times were analyzed. Specifically, the trials with a single target were compared with dual-target trials. The findings revealed that subsequent search misses, but not incidental findings, were observed. The results suggest that incidental findings may be closely related to subsequent search misses. As well as that, the difficulty of the task, particularly induced by target-distractor similarity, may be one of the major factors leading to the emergence of subsequent search misses instead of incidental findings.