The manifestation of incidental findings in different experimental visual search paradigms
Background. Incidental findings are items of visual search that are potentially of significance, but were not the main object of the initial search. They have been previously widely discussed in the field of radiology. However, the underlying perceptual mechanisms of such phenomenon are still unclear.
Objective. The current study aims to examine incidental findings in different paradigms of visual search in order to reveal their primary perceptual aspects.
Design. Two behavioral visual search experiments were conducted. The mixed hybrid search task model was used in the first experiment, while the subsequent search miss effect was employed in the second experiment. The task was to find targets among distractors, according to given instructions. Stimuli material consisted of images of real-life objects that were randomly distributed across the screen for each trial.
Results. Accuracy and reaction time of the participants were analyzed in both experiments. Similar effects were observed for both parameters. Specific targets in the first experiment and typical targets in the second experiment were found significantly faster and more accurately in comparison to categorical and atypical targets. Moreover, this tendency did not depend on the order of target identification. Hence, the prevalence of the targets was revealed to be the primary factor in the case of incidental findings.
Conclusion. The study revealed the emergence of incidental findings in both experiments. Typical or specific targets were detected significantly more accurately, compared to atypical or categorical targets. Subsequent search misses were not detected, suggesting that target prevalence could be a crucial factor that is specific for incidental findings.