the age of insight / the summer of perspicacity

“The function of the modern artist was not to convey beauty, but to convey new truths.”


“Science may explain aspects of art but it will not replace the inspiration that art evokes…”


“Viennese life at the turn of the century provided opportunities in salons and coffeehouses for scientists, writers, and artists to come together in an atmosphere that was at once inspiring, optimistic, and politically engaged. …science was no longer the narrow and restrictive province of scientists but had become an integral part of Viennese culture. …a paradigm for how an open dialogue can be achieved.”


-Eric Kandel, excerpted from The Age of Insight


medical image expertise

“Given our lifelong experience moving about the world from one visual scene to another, we are all expert scene processors. A growing body of research has shown that, just as radiologists may be able to categorize a chest radiograph in the blink of an eye, humans in general can categorize real scenes after exposures as short as 0.025 seconds.”

Seattle mountains

“Real-world scenes and medical images are structured… any account of visual search in scenes, be they natural scenes or medical images, will require an account of how the scene structure information can guide the search.”

bleeding sky

“Before becoming board certified, a radiologist undergoes years of intensive training that involves ready many thousands of images… However, an important consequence of training is to teach radiologist trainees that some areas are more likely to contain a lesion than others. Thus, while eye movement recordings suggest that novice radiologists search in a relatively haphazard fashion when looking for lung nodules, experienced radiologists tend to exhibit more concise eye movements, with fewer fixations needed to extract more information.”

bamboo sculpture

“Trained radiologists were asked to detect abnormalities on chest radiographs after viewing each image for just 200 msec. Performance was well above chance (70% correct)…¬†Experts tend to fixate the malignancy or other item of interest soon… long before their attention would be expected to reach those sites… Expert radiologists tend to have more efficient eye movement scan paths than novices. Relative to experts, novices tend to show more fixations and saccades and more coverage of the total image and to arrive at the abnormality later.”


“Radiologists… are being asked to process an every-increasing number of images in the same amount of time. It is now more important than ever to understand how to transform a novice into an expert who can process this flood of images efficiently and effectively… To become an expert radiologist, one has to attain a level of expertise in both explicit medical knowledge and more implicit perceptual knowledge.”

raindrops on bamboo leaf

-From Drew et al, 2013