Dependency of human target detection performance on clutter and quality of supporting image analysis algorithms in a video surveillance task
Background: In target detection, the success rates depend strongly on human observer performances. Two prior studies tested the contributions of target detection algorithms and prior training sessions. The aim of this Swiss-German cooperation study was to evaluate the dependency of human observer performance on the quality of supporting image analysis algorithms. Methods: The participants were presented 15 different video sequences. Their task was to detect all targets in the shortest possible time. Each video sequence showed a heavily cluttered simulated public area from a different viewing angle. In each video sequence, the number of avatars in the area was altered to 100, 150 and 200 subjects. The number of targets appearing was kept at 10%. The number of marked targets varied from 0, 5, 10, 20 up to 40 marked subjects while keeping the positive predictive value of the detection algorithm at 20%. During the task, workload level was assessed by applying an acoustic secondary task. Detection rates and detection times for the targets were analyzed using inferential statistics. Results: The study found Target Detection Time to increase and Target Detection Rates to decrease with increasing numbers of avatars. The same is true for the Secondary Task Reaction Time while there was no effect on Secondary Task Hit Rate. Furthermore, we found a trend for a u-shaped correlation between the numbers of markings and RTST indicating increased workload. Conclusion: The trial results may indicate useful criteria for the design of training and support of observers in observational tasks.