Baggage screeners have just seconds amid loud airport noises and the pressure of rushed airline travelers to scan X-rays of carry-on items for weapons. How good they are at finding one may depend on the specificity of their training, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The findings, published in the May issue of the journal Psychological Science, suggest that initial training of federal airport screeners needs to last long enough for them to be exposed to a variety of weapons, and continuing education may be necessary to expose screeners to potentially new and unexpected ones.
The research was conducted at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois, using two-color X-ray images of carry-on baggage containing knives provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, which funded the study. Eye-tracking techniques captured where and how quickly the participants scanned through clothing, hair dryers, pill bottles and other items in each X-rayed piece of luggage to find a weapon.
Jim Barlow | UIUC
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