False Feedback Increases Detection of Low-Prevalence Targets in Visual Search
Many critical search tasks, such as airport and medical screening, involve searching for targets that are rarely present. These low-prevalence targets are associated with extremely high miss rates Wolfe, Horowitz, & Kenner (Nature, 435, 439-440, 2005). The inflated miss rates are caused by a criterion shift, likely due to observers attempting to equate the numbers of misses and false alarms. This equalizing strategy results in a neutral criterion at 50 % target prevalence, but leads to a higher proportion of misses for low-prevalence targets. In the present study, we manipulated participants' perceived number of misses through explicit false feedback. As predicted, the participants in the false-feedback condition committed a higher number of false alarms due to a shifted criterion. Importantly, the participants in this condition were also more successful in detecting targets. These results highlight the importance of perceived prevalence in target search tasks.
MSU Digital Commons Citation
Schwark, Jeremy; Sandry, Joshua; MacDonald, Justin; and Dolgov, Igor, "False Feedback Increases Detection of Low-Prevalence Targets in Visual Search" (2012). Department of Psychology Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works. 226.