Using enhanced text to facilitate recognition of drug names: evidence from two experimental studies

Appl Ergon. 2009 Jan;40(1):82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2008.01.010. Epub 2008 Mar 10.


Two studies examined the effects of enhanced text on immediate recognition of drug names. Study 1 sampled 102 college students using a between-subjects design, while Study 2 sampled 11 practicing pharmacists and technicians using a within-subjects Latin square design. Both studies utilized a computer-based sequential recognition task where a prime word was shown with various text enhancements, followed by a mask and then a target word. Participants decided whether the target word was the same as the prime word. Stimuli were organized so that 120 trials were matches and 120 trials were mismatches, randomly sequenced for each participant. Results showed an effect of orthographic similarity, where high-similarity name mismatches were missed more often. This effect was independent of the type of text enhancement used and response bias. Case-based enhancements also increased errors of commission (false alarms) significantly. Discussion includes the practical relevance of the data and future directions for research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Terminals*
  • Drug Labeling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Pharmacy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reading*
  • Students*
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Universities*
  • Visual Perception*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations