What was I thinking? Eye-tracking experiments underscore the bias that architecture exerts on nuclear grading in prostate cancer

Bombari, Dario; Mora, Braulio; Schaefer, Stephan C.; Mast, Fred W.; Lehr, Hans-Anton (2012). What was I thinking? Eye-tracking experiments underscore the bias that architecture exerts on nuclear grading in prostate cancer. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e38023. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0038023

fetchObject.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (2MB) | Preview

We previously reported that nuclear grade assignment of prostate carcinomas is subject to a cognitive bias induced by the tumor architecture. Here, we asked whether this bias is mediated by the non-conscious selection of nuclei that "match the expectation" induced by the inadvertent glance at the tumor architecture. 20 pathologists were asked to grade nuclei in high power fields of 20 prostate carcinomas displayed on a computer screen. Unknown to the pathologists, each carcinoma was shown twice, once before a background of a low grade, tubule-rich carcinoma and once before the background of a high grade, solid carcinoma. Eye tracking allowed to identify which nuclei the pathologists fixated during the 8 second projection period. For all 20 pathologists, nuclear grade assignment was significantly biased by tumor architecture. Pathologists tended to fixate on bigger, darker, and more irregular nuclei when those were projected before kigh grade, solid carcinomas than before low grade, tubule-rich carcinomas (and vice versa). However, the morphometric differences of the selected nuclei accounted for only 11% of the architecture-induced bias, suggesting that it can only to a small part be explained by the unconscious fixation on nuclei that "match the expectation". In conclusion, selection of « matching nuclei » represents an unconscious effort to vindicate the gravitation of nuclear grades towards the tumor architecture.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Bombari, Dario, Schäfer, Stephan, Mast, Fred, Lehr, Hans-Anton


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Public Library of Science




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:32

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:10

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:





https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/12442 (FactScience: 218786)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback