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Detecting Hidden Targets



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Header for SPIE use Detecting Hidden Targets A Procedure for Studying Performance in a Mine Detection like Task Daniel T Cerutti Ioan M Chelaru and John E R Staddon DukeUniversity Psychology Experimental Durham NC 27708 ABSTRACT We report preliminary results from an experiment designed to study the perceptual and learning processes involved in the detection of land mines Subjects attempted to identify the location of spatially distributed targets identified by a sweeping a cursor across a computer screen Each point on the screen was associated with a certain tone intensity targets were louder than distractor objects We looked at the effects on target detection and false alarm rates of the intensity difference between target and distractor signals the number of distractors and training order The time to detect 50 of targets threshold detection time was measured by a rapid adaptive technique PEST which generated reliable thresholds within few trials The results are consistent with a simple model for the detection of cryptic prey by foraging predators search was slower with more distractors and the effect of distractors was greater when intensity ratio IR was lower Although subjects got no accuracy feedback performance improved somewhat with experience and was better in the low IR condition when it followed the high IR condition The procedure seems to be a useful one for studying more complex mine related detection tasks with a range of signal types and numbers of concurrent detection signals Keywords land mine detection simulation threshold adaptive staircase training foraging cryptic 1 INTRODUCTION Land mines are effective barriers to the extent that they can be concealed Development of sensitive metal detection equipment reduces concealment but has led to the evolution of low metal or no metal mines which pose new technical problems Mine detection will always be subject to technical limitations Mines must usually be detected by human operators using hand held



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