Incidental findings defined as valuable findings that are not searched purposely by the experts were originally discovered by radiologists. Despite the importance and great practical value of this phenomenon for visual search, it was almost not studied by cognitive psychologists and vision science experts. The current study aimed to examine experimentally incidental findings in visual search. The main objective was to clarify independence of incidental findings from subsequent search misses, another well-known visual search phenomenon. In order to do that, the standard experimental paradigm for detecting subsequent search misses was used. At the same time the stimuli material and tasks were created to closely fit the definition of incidental findings. The findings revealed that subsequent search misses, but not incidental findings were observed. The results suggest that incidental findings may be closely related to subsequent search misses. As well as that, the difficulty of the task, particularly, induced by target-distractor similarity, may be one of the major factors, leading to the emergence of subsequent search misses instead of incidental findings.
Subsequent search misses (SSM) refer to the decrease in accuracy of second target detection in dual-target visual search. One of the theoretical explanations of SSM errors is similarity bias – the tendency to search for similar targets and to miss the dissimilar ones. The current study focuses on both perceptual and categorical similarity and their individual roles in SSM. Five experiments investigated the role of perceptual and categorical similarity in subsequent search misses, wherein perceptual and categorical similarities were manipulated separately, and task relevance was controlled. The role of both perceptual and categorical similarity was revealed, however, the categorical similarity had greater impact on second target detection. The findings of this research suggest the revision of the traditional perceptual set hypothesis that mainly focuses on perceptual target similarity in multiple target visual search.
The disfluency effect was recently discovered, according to which it is possible to improve memorization by making fonts less legible. In a number of studies, the existence of this effect has been discussed, and the question about the possible existence of moderators for this effect has also been raised. In this paper, the presence of images accompanying text information was considered as a moderator for the disfluency effect. 40 words were shown to study participants; depending upon the experimental group, the presented words were written in either a fluent or disfluent font, and accompanied by images or not. A significant improvement in memory was found in the presence of images, but the disfluency effect was not detected, and the presence of images did not moderate this effect.
Recently, the idea of beneficial effect of perceptually disfluent, poorly legible fonts on memory has been actively discussed. Among the explanations for the positive effect is the "desirable difficulties" approach, according to which the disfluent fonts affect metacognitive processes while reading. Such interruption is thought to promote better information processing compared to ordinary, fluent fonts. In accordance with this approach, a special, initially disfluent font Sans Forgetica was designed in 2018 to improve memorization of texts. Existing studies still debate on the strength of the disfluency effect or even on its existence. For example, according to the cognitive load theory it is better to apply fluent, easy-to-read fonts. In order to examine this issue, we conducted a study, which involved 69 participants. Participants were presented with a short text in English with 15 open questions afterwards. Four experimental groups were formed based on the specific font: Times New Roman, Arial, Comic Sans or Sans Forgetica. Given the non-native English speakers as participants, the level of English proficiency was considered as an additional independent variable. We hypothesized that the participants from the third and fourth groups would score higher in the memorization test, since the text presented to them was written in disfluent fonts. Furthermore, it was planned to study whether the degree of English proficiency would affect the success of solving the problem when using different fonts. No significant differences were found between the participants with different level of English proficiency and the type of font. In particular, the Sans Forgetica font has not proven to be more effective for storing information. This result is consistent with recent studies that failed to observe the disfluency effect.