Visual expertise in paediatric neurology

Thomas Balslev*, Halszka Jarodzka, Kenneth Holmqvist, Willem de Grave, Arno M. M. Muijtjens, Berit Eika, Jeroen van Merrienboer, Albert J. J. A. Scherpbier

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Visual expertise relies on perceptive as well as cognitive processes. At present, knowledge of these processes when diagnosing clinical cases mainly stems from studies with still pictures. In contrast, patient video cases constitute a dynamic diagnostic challenge that may simulate seeing and diagnosing a patient in person. Aims: This study investigates visual attention and the concomitant cognitive processes of clinicians diagnosing authentic paediatric video cases. Methods: A total of 43 clinicians with varying levels of expertise took part in this cross-sectional study. They diagnosed four brief video recordings of children: two with seizures and two with disorders imitating seizures. We used eye tracking to investigate time looking at relevant areas in the video cases and a concurrent think-aloud procedure to explore the associated clinical reasoning processes. Results: More experienced clinicians were more accurate in visual diagnosis and spent more of their time looking at relevant areas. At the same time, they explored data less, yet they built and evaluated more diagnostic hypotheses. Conclusions: Clinicians of varying expertise analyse patient video cases differently. Clinical teachers should take these differences into account when optimising educational formats with patient video cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Education
  • Video cases
  • Visual expertise
  • Learning

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