Perception and human information processing in visual search

Book Section

© Cambridge University Press 2015. Visual search is the process of finding specific target items within an environment using particular visual features or prior knowledge. Searches can be as easy as finding your friend with purple hair in a lecture hall or as complicated as finding a purposefully concealed weapon among thousands of harmless bags at an airport checkpoint. Visual searches take place in everyday, innocuous contexts such as finding your car in a parking lot, and in critical contexts, such as finding enemy combatants in an urban battlefield. We conduct searches all the time, and most searches are relatively commonplace. However, in some cases, visual searches can be critically important. For example, airport security screeners must identify harmful items in baggage, and radiologists must identify abnormalities in medical radiographs. Despite the ubiquitous nature of search and the fact that it is sometimes life-or-death critical, human visual search is far from ideal - errors are often made, and searches are typically conducted for either too little or too much time. Thus, some fundamental research questions are the following: How can we maximize search efficiency? What is the best way to increase both search speed and accuracy? Much academic research has focused on increasing search performance, but does such research adequately translate to situations outside the laboratory environment? These open questions are the foundation of research in applied visual search - the application of what has been learned about search accuracy and efficiency from lab-based experimentation to search conditions in the workplace for career searchers, with the goal of increasing performance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Clark, K; Cain, MS; Mitroff, SR

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Book Title

  • The Cambridge Handbook of Applied Perception Research

Start / End Page

  • 199 - 217

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780511973017

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/CBO9780511973017.016

Citation Source

  • Scopus