Radiologists remember mountains better than radiographs, or do they?

Karla Evans, Edith Marom, Myrna Godoy, Diana Palacio, Tara Sagebiel, Sonia Betancourt Cuellar, Mark McEntee, Patrick Brennan, Charles Tian, Tamara Haygood

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Expertise with encoding material has been shown to aid long-term memory for that material. It is not clear how relevant this expertise is for image memorability (e.g. radiologists’ memory for radiographs), and how robust over time.
In two studies we tested scene memory using a standard long-term memory paradigm. One compared the performance of radiologists to naïve observers on two image sets, chest radiographs and everyday scenes, and the other radiologists’ memory with immediate as opposed to delayed recognition test using musculoskeletal radiographs and forest scenes.
Radiologists’ memory was better than novices for images of expertise but no different for everyday scenes. With heterogeneity of images sets equated, radiologists’ expertize with radiographs afforded them better memory for the musculoskeletal radiographs than forest scenes. Enhanced memory for images of expertise disappeared over time resulting in chance level performance for both image sets after weeks of delay. Expertise with the material is important for visual memorability but not to the same extent as idiosyncratic detail and variability of the image set. Similar memory decline with time for images of expertise as for every day scenes further suggests that extended familiarity with an image is not a robust factor for visual memorability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number011005
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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