Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Airport baggage screeners may need continuing education, study indicates

28.04.2004


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.


The laboratory training of 16 volunteer young adults helped them to become more efficient in spotting knives in the baggage, but their improvements did not carry through when the sizes of the knives were changed in newly examined images, said principal investigator Arthur F. Kramer, a professor of psychology.

“We found that the effects of training were beneficial,” Kramer said. “Clearly people improved on their abilities to spot specific weapons in a search. However, we found that training, for the most part, was relatively specific to the items on which screeners were trained. There wasn’t a lot of transfer. If the expectation is that we can train screeners on one set of weapons and expect them to transfer that ability to another kind of weapon, that is not the case.”

The X-rayed baggage – 89 pieces in all – was presented on a 19-inch monitor. Two sets of four differently sized knives were used and inserted at random locations and orientations. Each participant took part in five sessions of 300 trials each.

“We found that training did not have much of an impact at all on how quickly they got their eyes to the area of a weapon,” Kramer said. “What improved was how quickly they detected a weapon once they looked into the right region. They became better able to differentiate the weapon from other materials, but not better able to get their eyes into the right location more quickly.”

When different, unfamiliar targets were introduced, the number of eye movements of the participants increased before the targets were found, and the probability of finding them decreased.

The goal is to reduce both the numbers of false identifications and the actual misses. That will require an approach that develops the capacity to perceptually organize and recognize a variety targets in security imagery, Kramer said. “You have to train relatively broadly if you want to get better across the board. I think that’s increasingly important given the creativity of terrorists.”

In addition to Kramer, four other Illinois researchers were involved in the study: Beckman Fellow Jason S. McCarley (now a professor at Mississippi State University); doctoral student Walter R. Boot; Christopher D. Wickens, professor of psychology and head of the Institute of Aviation’s Human Factors Division at Willard Airport; and Eric D. Vidoni, an undergraduate student.

Jim Barlow | UIUC
Further information:
http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/04/0427screeners.html

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>