Association for Psychological Science 22nd Annual Convention: Boston, MA

Keynote Address/Opening Ceremony

Visual Search Gets Real: From the Lab to the Airport to the Radiology Suite

Thursday May 27, 2010, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM - Grand Ballroom

Jeremy M. Wolfe Jeremy M. Wolfe
Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital

We are built to search. Our ancestors foraged for food. We search for pens, coffee cups, and cars in parking lots. Even when a desired object is in plain view, we search because we can only recognize one (or a very few) objects at one time. We are adapted to these limits and we manage pretty well, using attentional processes that guide us to likely targets and that enable us to abandon search when the target is not present. But what happens if the target is almost never there? When we ask radiologists to screen x-rays for cancer or airport security to find threats in luggage, we are asking them to be very good at finding very rare targets that are very important. In this talk, Wolfe will describe some of the processes that govern everyday search tasks, and he will illustrate what can happen when these processes meet the demands of modern, socially important search tasks.

Listen to Jeremy Wolfe discussing his research on a recent broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.

2010 Program Committee
Tyler S. Lorig, Washington and Lee University (Chair); Nalini Ambady, Tufts University; Abigail Baird, Vassar College; Sian Beilock, University of Chicago; Daniel Klein, Stony Brook University, The State University of New York; Richard Lewis, Pomona College; Kris Preacher, University of Kansas; Deidra Schleicher, Purdue University; Timothy Strauman, Duke University; Tracy Zinn, James Madison University