Have you ever concentrated on something so much that you missed a detail that normally would stand out to you? As a radiologist, you’re tasked with finding a needle in a haystack and identifying breast cancer over the course of reviewing potentially hundreds of images. We know that misses can, and do, happen to even the most experienced radiologist.

Recently, a study was published in the journal Psychological Science that examined something called inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness is when someone is engaged in another task or event and misses a fully visible object because their focus was elsewhere. In this study, an image of a gorilla was placed in a lung image and radiologists were to examine the image.

Within this study, 83% of the radiologists involved did not see the gorilla in the image. It should be noted no radiologist was asked to look for a gorilla. However, at the end of the review of images, they were asked if they noticed anything strange about the image or noticed a gorilla in the images. Over half of the radiologists said they did not notice.

We also want to reiterate a major point from the conclusion of the study: “It would be a mistake to regard these results as an indictment of radiologists. As a group, they are highly skilled practitioners of a very demanding class of visual search tasks. The message of the present results is that even this high level of expertise does not immunize against inherent limitations of human attention and perception. We should seek a better understanding of these limits. This would give us a better chance of designing medical and other human-made search tasks in ways that reduce the consequences of these limitations.”

Even the authors recognize that it is not a “failure” on the radiologist’s part, it just acknowledges that with all the tasks that radiologists are asked to do, there still is a chance to miss things that should be noticed. That’s where MammoScreen® can help! MammoScreen can help identify up to 50% of missed cancer* cases. We are now even more effective to help with the ability to incorporate priors into the evaluation.

Radiologists are tasked with dozens of things during any given shift. Even when someone is devoting their entire attention to reviewing mammograms, there is a chance that something can be missed. MammoScreen, at your side, can flag potential areas of concern.

Learn how you can have MammoScreen at your side. Have a demo of our software today!

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*50% of missed screen detectable or minimal sign cancer cases.