Visual recognition memory for scenes in aerial photographs: Exploring the role of expertise

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2019 Jun;197:23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.04.019. Epub 2019 May 9.

Abstract

Aerial photographs depict objects from an overhead position, which gives them several unusual visual characteristics that are challenging for viewers to perceive and memorize. However, even for untrained viewers, aerial photographs are still meaningful and rich with contextual information. Such visual stimulus properties are considered appropriate and important when testing for expertise effects in visual recognition memory. The current experiment investigated memory recognition in expert image analysts and untrained viewers using two types of aerial photographs. The experts were better than untrained viewers at recognizing both vertical aerial photographs, which is the domain of their expertise, and oblique aerial photographs. Thus, one notable finding is that the superior memory performance of experts is not limited to a domain of expertise but extends to a broader category of large-scale landscape scenes. Furthermore, the experts' recognition accuracy remained relatively stable throughout the experimental conditions, illustrating the ability to use semantic information over strictly visual information in memory processes.

Keywords: Aerial photographs; Expertise; Scene perception; Visual recognition memory.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Photography / methods*
  • Professional Competence*
  • Young Adult