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Proceedings Paper

Detecting hidden targets: a procedure for studying performance in a mine-detection-like task
Author(s): Daniel T. Cerutti; Ioan M. Chelaru; John E. R. Staddon
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Paper 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 distractor signals, the number of distractors and training order. The time to detect 50 percent of targets was measured by a rapid adaptive technique which generated reliable thresholds within few trials. The result 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 S/N ratio was lower. Although subjects got no accuracy feedback, performance improved somewhat with experience and was slightly better in the low S/N condition when it followed the high S/N 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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 August 2000
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4038, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets V, (22 August 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.396222
Show Author Affiliations
Daniel T. Cerutti, Duke Univ. (United States)
Ioan M. Chelaru, Duke Univ. (United States)
John E. R. Staddon, Duke Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4038:
Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets V
Abinash C. Dubey; James F. Harvey; J. Thomas Broach; Regina E. Dugan, Editor(s)

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