What can an echocardiographer see in briefly presented stimuli? Perceptual expertise in dynamic search

A. J. Carrigan, P. Stoodley, F. Fernandez, Mark Wiggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Experts in medical image perception are able to detect abnormalities rapidly from medical images. This ability is likely due to enhanced pattern recognition on a global scale. However, the bulk of research in this domain has focused on static rather than dynamic images, so it remains unclear what level of information that can be extracted from these displays. This study was designed to examine the visual capabilities of echocardiographers—practitioners who provide information regarding cardiac integrity and functionality. In three experiments, echocardiographers and naïve participants completed an abnormality detection task that comprised
movies presented on a range of durations, where half were abnormal. This was followed by an abnormality categorization task.
Results: Across all durations, the results showed that performance was high for detection, but less so for categorization, indicating that categorization was a more challenging task. Not surprisingly, echocardiographers outperformed naïve participants.
Conclusions: Together, this suggests that echocardiographers have a finely tuned capability for cardiac dysfunction, and a great deal of visual information can be extracted during a global assessment, within a brief glance. No relationship was evident between experience and performance which suggests that other factors such as individual differences need to be considered for future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • echocardiography
  • vision
  • perception
  • expertise


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