It’s the holiday season, which means getting on a plane goes from merely annoying to infuriating. Do you ever wonder whether those never-ending delays in baggage screening actually make you safer?
An airport baggage screener who spots a dangerous item hidden in a cluttered bag can save countless lives, but how easy is it to spot a threat?
A research team and a very popular app have joined forces to get you some answers.
And the answer is: It isn’t easy.
The results from the Duke University team just published in Psychological Science suggest that human airport screeners are more likely to miss unusual – and possibly dangerous – items.
“We’re seeing that people are really bad at finding items that are not likely to appear,” said Stephen Mitroff, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke.
The research team looked at real game action where “passengers” have hidden items to get them on board flights.
The first month’s worth of data alone included visual searches for 1.2 billion items stashed in 150 million bags. The challenges included ultra-rare items that appeared in less than 0.1 percent of bags.
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