Pulmonary nodule detection: What features attract attention?

Elizabeth A. Krupinski, William Berger, William Dallas, Hans Roehrig

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The goal of the study was to determine if there are certain physical features of pulmonary nodules that attract visual attention and contribute to increased recognition and detection by observers. A series of posteroanterior chest images with solitary pulmonary nodules were searched by six radiologists as their eye-position was recorded. The signal-to-noise ratio, size, conspicuity, location, and calcification status were measured for each nodule. Dwell parameters were correlated with nodule features and related to detection rates. Only nodule size (F = 5.08, p = 0.0254) and conspicuity (F = 4.625, p = 0.0329) influenced total dwell time on nodules, with larger more conspicuous nodules receiving less visual attention than smaller less conspicuous nodules. All nodule features examined influenced overall detection performance (p < 0.05) even though most did not influence visual search and attention. Individual nodule features do not attract attention as measured by "first hit" fixation data, but certain features do tend to hold attention once the nodule has been fixated. The combination of all features influences whether or not it is detected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Issue number26
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventMedical Imaging 2004 - Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 17 2004Feb 19 2004


  • Detection performance
  • Experience
  • Features
  • Nodules
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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