Perceptual learning effects in cell discrimination.
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Cytologists are trained to discriminate between normal and abnormal cells. The interpretation of cells is difficult and prone to error. Visual discrimination skills develop from repeatedly being exposed to cell images, this is known as Perceptual Learning (PL). There is little research of PL in cytology and there is need for research to develop efficient training. Research suggests that learning improves with easy discrimination advancing to harder cases (Ahissar & Hochstein, 1997; Evered et al., 2014). Therefore, the hypothesis is that a learning mode of easy to hard cells would be more effective than a random learning mode. Forty participants were recruited from a university in south wales. Participants completed a pre-test, the learning mode and a post-test. Findings showed no significant effect between the learning modes in the post-test. However, the results did show significant interactions between the three learning blocks. The sequential learning group performed significantly better in blocks 1 and 2 but were significantly worse in the third block compared to the random learning group and chance. Findings did not support the hypothesis, but did give interesting insight to other mechanisms that effects perceptual learning. Further investigation is needed into the role of feedback and the involvement of negative transfer between elemental and configural processes in diagnostic accuracy.
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