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 Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>