1

CAN THE DIFFICULTY LEVEL REACHED IN COMPUTER-BASED TRAINING
PREDICT RESULTS IN X-RAY IMAGE INTERPRETATION TESTS?



Stefan Michel, Dr. Marcia Mendes Adrian Schwaninger, Prof. Dr.
University of Applied Sciences University of Applied Sciences University of Applied Sciences
Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)
School of Applied Psychology (APS) School of Applied Psychology (APS) School of Applied Psychology (APS)
Institute Humans in Complex Institute Humans in Complex Institute Humans in Complex
Systems (MikS) Systems (MikS) Systems (MikS)
Riggenbachstrasse 16, 4600 Olten Riggenbachstrasse 16, 4600 Olten Riggenbachstrasse 16, 4600 Olten
Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland
stefan.michel@fhnw.ch marcia.mendes@fhnw.ch adrian.schwaninger@fhnw.ch

and and and

Center for Adaptive Security Center for Adaptive Security Center for Adaptive Security
Research and Applications (CASRA) Research and Applications (CASRA) Research and Applications (CASRA)
Thurgauerstrasse 39 Thurgauerstrasse 39 Thurgauerstrasse 39
8050 Zurich, Switzerland 8050 Zurich, Switzerland 8050 Zurich, Switzerland


Abstract – As scientific studies have shown, the
performance of airport security screening officers in x-ray image
interpretation depends critically on individual abilities and visual
knowledge acquired through class-room, computer-based
(CBT) and on-the job training. The effectiveness of adaptive
CBT in increasing the efficiency in x-ray image interpretation of
screening officers could be verified in several studies.
Individually adaptive CBT systems, like X-Ray Tutor (XRT),
are constructed in such a way that with increasing performance
of each individual the difficulty level will increase and become
more challenging with respect to three imaged-based factors:
viewpoint (depending on rotation of threat items in a bag),
superposition by other items and bag complexity. The focus of
this study was to examine to what extend the achieved training
level in XRT positively correlates with performance in the X-Ray
Competency Assessment Test (X-Ray CAT) or, more
specifically, whether screeners that have acquired higher
difficulty levels also achieved better test results. Knowledge
about an acquired difficulty level could then, subsequently,
provide an indication about the screeners’ x-ray image
interpretation competency. Furthermore, analysis of these
correlations would suggest which XRT difficulty level screening
officers should have mastered in order to be acknowledged as
proficient, and for them to be well prepared to pass initial and
recurrent certification with the X-Ray CAT. The latter is of
particular interest as the X-Ray CAT is being used for
certification at several European airports. A further goal of this
study was to reproduce results of previous studies confirming
the effectiveness of adaptive CBT for increasing detection
performance of screeners. The study was carried out at one
international airport. 199 screening officers underwent training
with XRT for 20 months. Assessments were taken before the
start, after 13 months and finally after 20 months of training.
Analyses showed high positive correlations between the
achieved XRT training levels and the individual's performance
in the X-Ray CAT. Based on these results, recommendations
on which XRT level should be reached before initial and
recurrent certification of x-ray image interpretation competency
are derived. Furthermore, large increases in detection
performance were found when comparing performance
obtained at the three measurement dates, supporting results of
earlier studies.
Altogether, this study provides further evidence that recurrent
adaptive CBT is a powerful tool for increasing screening
officers' x-ray image interpretation competency.

Index Terms — Airport security, x-ray screening, computer-
based training, difficulty level, detection performance.


I. INTRODUCTION

The identification of prohibited items, when x-ray screening
passenger bags, is a challenging task. Within only a few
seconds a human operator must decide whether a piece of
luggage can be regarded as harmless or whether a prohibited
item is contained. Although airport security technology has
evolved remarkably over the past years, the actual identification
of prohibited objects still rests with human operators (i.e.
screening officers). Consequently, the most advanced
machines become vile if these people are not selected and
trained appropriately. According to object recognition theories
and visual cognition, object shapes not similar to the ones
stored in visual memory are difficult to recognize (e.g., [1]; [2];
[3]). [4] have shown that the detection of forbidden objects in x-
ray images of passenger bags depends on knowledge-based
and image-based factors. Many prohibited items are rarely
seen in everyday life and might look quite different from reality
when displayed as an x-ray image (e.g., electric shock devices
or improvised explosive devices (IEDs)). Therefore, knowledge
about which items are prohibited and what they look like in x-
ray images is required. Class-room, computer-based (CBT) and
on-the-job-training can help attaining such knowledge
(knowledge-based factors). Moreover, the detection of
2

prohibited items can be impaired by different image-based
factors. [4] have identified three image-based factors which are
relevant for x-ray screening: viewpoint (based on the viewpoint
of threat items in a bag), superposition of a threat item and bag
complexity ([4]; [5]; [6]; [7]; [8]). Depending on perceptual
experience and the ability to mentally rotate objects, rotated
threat items are more difficult to recognize (effect of viewpoint).
Likewise, position of a threat item in a bag, its superimposition
by other objects (effect of superposition) and number and types
of objects in a bag (effects of bag complexity) also affect the
difficulty of identifying threat items ([5]). As results of different
studies demonstrate, coping with image difficulty resulting from
these factors can be improved through training. However, a
person’s visual abilities greatly influence and alleviate this
learning progress. Achieving a good x-ray image competency
becomes much more difficult and challenging if a person does
not have the right visual abilities. In airport security screening
large differences between people with regard to aptitudes and
abilities exist ([9]). For this reason it is recommended to apply
selection test as part of pre-employment assessments, so that
right from the beginning those people best suited for the job are
chosen ([7]).
Regarding knowledge-based and image-based factors,
studies have shown that individually adaptive CBT systems, like
X-Ray Tutor (XRT), are very effective and efficient tools for
increasing x-ray image interpretation competency of screening
officers ([9]; [10]). XRT is a scientifically based training program
which’s effectiveness has been proven in several studies ([2];
[11]; [12]; [13]). XRT is based on findings about how the human
brain processes visual information, taking the three relevant
image-based factors into account. One core advantage of XRT
is that it is individually adaptive and level based, meaning
training sessions are created on each trainee’s individual
performance and learning progress.
In this study, our main aim was to investigate to what extent a
screening officer’s achieved difficulty level in XRT after 20
months of training positively correlates with his/her performance
in the X-Ray Competency Assessment Test (X-Ray CAT). This
study sought also to examine whether the achieved difficulty
level can give an indication about an individual’s x-ray image
interpretation competency. The X-Ray CAT is an instrument
used to measure x-ray image interpretation competency, i.e.
how well people can visually process x-ray images of
passenger bags in order to detect threat items ([14]). We
theorize that screening officers that have acquired higher
difficulty levels also achieved higher detection performance
scores. A further aim of this study was to replicate results of
previous studies confirming the effectiveness of CBT for
increasing x-ray image interpretation competency of screening
officers ([2]; [11]; [12]; [13]).

II. METHOD AND PROCEDURE

199 cabin baggage screening officers of one selected
international European airport underwent training with the XRT
standard edition for cabin baggage screening (XRT CBS SE)
for a duration of 20 months. The screening officers were
instructed to conduct at least one 20 minute training session
per week. Measurements of detection performance were
collected conducting the X-Ray CAT for cabin baggage
screening at three different measurement dates; before start of
training as a baseline measurement, after 13 months of training
and after the full 20 months of training. Information about each
individual’s achieved difficulty level after the 20 months of
training was extracted from training data.

A. X-Ray Tutor (XRT) training system

The X-Ray Tutor training system (XRT) was developed by
the Visual Cognition Research Group (VICOREG) at the
University of Zurich as a scientifically based training program to
enhance x-ray image interpretation competency of screening
officers ([2]). In the training program x-ray images of passenger
bags are presented to the screening officers, whereupon they
have to visually inspect the images, search them for threat
items and, subsequently, take a decision on whether a bag can
be regarded as harmless or not. XRT automatically combines
fictional threat items with x-ray images of harmless passenger
bags using an individually adaptive algorithm. In the standard
edition most of the threat items can each be depicted from up to
96 different views. Objects depicted from an unfamiliar
viewpoint are more difficult to recognize, hence, a large and
representative image library of prohibited items depicted from
many different viewpoints is necessary to provide a good basis
for training x-ray image interpretation competency ([2]). In order
to make sure the screening officers learn a large number of
different prohibited objects, threat items from different threat
categories are integrated in the XRT image library. The XRT
image library was developed in close collaboration with experts
of Zurich State Police, Airport Division as well as other
organizations and is continuously being extended. The XRT
professional edition (XRT CBS PE), for example, contains four
times as many threat items as the standard edition. In this
study, screening officers have still been training with XRT CBS
SE.
XRT is individually adaptive, meaning that it automatically
adapts to the performance of each individual in regard to coping
with image difficulty. The XRT training starts by showing threat
items depicted in easy (canonical) views, with low superposition
and low bag complexities. The difficulty of each of these factors
increases depending on an individual’s learning progress.
These parameters are calculated by an individually adaptive
algorithm using objective measures of view difficulty,
superposition and bag complexity ([3]; [12]). The individually
adaptive training algorithm determines specifically for each
screening officer which items and views are difficult to
recognize and adapts the training to his/her requirements in
such a way that missed objects will be presented to him/her
more often. In order to enter a higher difficulty level a screening
officer needs to have seen a threat item for at least three times
in this level and detected it correctly 2/3 of the time. This
specific item is then regarded as learnt.
The 12 difficulty levels of XRT are based on view difficulty,
superposition, and bag complexity as described in Table 1.
During training with XRT images are displayed on the screen
for a maximum of 15 seconds (standard setting). In case a bag
is judged as NOT OK (containing a prohibited item) the
screener has to identify the threat item in the bag by clicking on
it. After each response feedback is provided immediately,
informing the screener whether the response was correct or
not. If the bag did contain a prohibited item, detailed information
about this item as well as its location in the bag can be
displayed ([2]). The effectiveness of individually adaptive CBT
compared to conventional (not adaptive) CBT has been
3

investigated in previous studies (e.g., [13]).

TABLE I
DIFFICULTY LEVELS IN X-RAY TUTOR.
Level Viewpoint Super-
position
Bag
Complexity
1 Easy Low Low
2 Difficult Low Low
3 Easy High Low
4 Difficult High Low
5 Easy Low Medium
6 Difficult Low Medium
7 Easy High Medium
8 Difficult High Medium
9 Easy Low High
10 Difficult Low High
11 Easy High High
12 Difficult High High

B. X-Ray Competency Assessment Test (X-Ray CAT)

The X-Ray CAT for cabin baggage screening (X-Ray CAT
CBS) is a reliable and valid instrument to measure x-ray image
interpretation competency of airport security screening officers.
It has been developed according to the principles and
requirements specified in [15], and it is applied for screener
certification at several European airports. It consists of 256
trials based on 128 different color x-ray images of passenger
bags. All bag images are once displayed without (non threat
image) and once containing a prohibited object (threat image).
The prohibited objects are grouped into four different categories
as defined in ECAC DOC 30: guns, IEDs, knives and other
prohibited items. Every category contains 16 threat objects,
subdivided into 8 pairs. Each pair is made up of two items
visually similar in shape. One of the prohibited items is included
in the XRT image library (Set A), whereas the other item has
not been seen before (Set B). This setup allows testing for
transfer effects of visual knowledge, i.e. whether training with
XRT also improves the detection of items that are visually
similar in shape but not contained in the XRT library and
therefore not known from training.
Furthermore, all items are once depicted in easy and once in
difficult view. Easy view refers to the canonical view, whereas in
difficult views threat objects are shown in an 85° horizontal or
vertical rotation. Sets A and B are equalized with regard to the
rotation of items.
The X-Ray CAT takes about 30-40 minutes to complete.
While images are displayed for a maximum of 15 seconds
screening officers have to take a decision whether a bag is OK
(containing no prohibited item) or NOT OK (containing a
prohibited item). For more information on the X-Ray CAT see
[14].

C. A' as measure for detection performance

For a valid measure of detection performance it is important
to use a score that considers the hit rate
1
as well as the false
alarm rate
2
. The hit rate on its own is not a valid measure,
since a candidate can achieve a high hit rate by simply judging
all bags as NOT OK. For our analyses we used A' ([16]), a
measure of sensitivity which is commonly used for a variety of
tasks including screener certification and competency
assessments. A' is a nonparametric measure, meaning that the
computation of A' requires no a priori assumption about the
underlying signal and noise distributions. A' is a kind of average
between minimum and maximum performance and can be
calculated by the following formula ([17]):

A
i
=
1
2
+
(E - F)(1 + E - F)
4E(1 -F)


H is the hit rate and F the false alarm rate. If performance is
below chance, i.e. when H<F, the equation must be modified
([18]):

A
i
=
1
2
+
(F - E)(1 + F - E)
4F(1 -E)


Even though the computation of A' requires no a priori
assumption about underlying distributions, it does not mean
that this measure is an accurate reflection of its theoretical
origin (i.e., that A' reflects the area under a reasonable ROC
curve) or that it is a distribution-free measure and fully
independent of response bias (see [19]). However, due to its
easy computation and interpretation, A' is often applied as a
measure for detection performance in research and application.
In this paper, actual performance values are not reported due
to security reasons. For all relevant analysis effect sizes are
reported and interpreted based on Cohen ([20]).

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

In this study, the relationship between x-ray image
interpretation competency measured with the X-Ray CAT CBS
and the achieved difficulty level in XRT CBS SE after 20
months of training was analyzed using data of 199 cabin
baggage screening officers. Moreover, a recommendation was
derived to determine which difficulty levels should have been
mastered in order for screening officers to be well prepared to
pass initial and recurrent certification. In addition to that, test
results taken at three different points in time were compared to
investigate the effectiveness of XRT.

A. Relationship between level and x-ray image interpretation
competency

A high correlation between the achieved training level in XRT
CBS SE and detection performance (A') after the 20 months of
training was found with r = .64, p < .01. Figure 1 shows the

1
The hit rate counts how often a person has correctly judged
a bag as NOT OK in proportion to all bags containing threat
items.
2
The false alarm rate counts how often a person has
wrongly judged a bag as NOT OK in proportion to all bags
containing no threat item.
4

increase of detection performance as a logarithmic function of
the XRT level. Lowest test results were performed by those
screeners in very low levels whereas highest detection
performance was achieved by the screening officers having
acquired level 12 (the highest level in XRT CBS SE). A general
improvement in detection performance can be observed for
each rising level. Yet, it must be considered that quite
remarkable dispersions exist between the persons with the
highest and lowest detection performance within each level.

Fig. 1: Correlation between detection performance A’ and XRT
CBS SE difficulty level.

For initial and recurrent certification we recommend a pass
mark of A' >= .80 when applying the X-Ray CAT. Of the 199
screening officers participating in this study, 37 (18.6%) did not
reach this pass mark. As can be seen in the graph, most of
these screeners were still training in lower XRT levels and had
not yet reached level 6.
According to [3] prohibited objects in x-ray images can be
recognized best when they have already been seen from
different viewpoints, superimposed by other objects and
presented in more or less complex bags. As described above,
the 12 difficulty levels of XRT CBS are build up in such a way
that in level 1 only bags with items depicted in easy viewpoints,
with low superposition and low bag complexity are displayed,
whereas with rising difficulty level the image-based factors,
become more challenging (see Table 1). Once level 6 has been
reached, a screener has seen threat items from easy as well as
difficult viewpoints, with both low and high superposition.
Additionally, the threat items have been presented in bags of
low and medium complexity. Screeners have therefore been
exposed to a good variation of image-based factors. Taking
these considerations into account, it can be expected that once
having reached level 6 in XRT CBS SE screeners should be
able to reliably recognize threat objects in x-ray images.
The results of this study support this theory. Almost all
screeners who had reached XRT level 6 achieved good test
results in the X-Ray CAT, high enough to pass certification
when A’ >= .80 is used as a pass mark. Of all screening officers
who had acquired XRT level 6, only 6 persons (4.3%) had an A’
score < .80.
All in all, it can therefore be expected that once having
reached level 6 in XRT CBS SE screening officers should have
acquired a reliable x-ray image interpretation competency and
be well prepared to pass initial and recurrent certification with
the X-Ray CAT. The duration of how long it takes to reach a
certain training level has been analyzed in a previous study
([21]). According to their results, if screeners use the training
system 20 minutes per week then one year of training is
required to reach level 6.

B. Effect of training

Similar to previous studies large increases in detection
performance were found for the three test dates. Figure 2
shows means and standard deviations
3
broken up by category
and test date.

Fig. 2: Mean detection performance A‘ and standard deviations
broken up by threat category and test date. Note: For security
reasons A’ scores are not indicated in the figure.

Substantial increases in detection performance could be
observed for all categories, especially for IEDs.
A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) using A’
scores was conducted with test date (first, second, third) and
category (guns, IEDs, knives, other) as within-participants
factors. There were large main effects of test date F(1.66,
329.46) = 196.25, p < .001, η
2
= .50, and category F(2.63,
521.61) = 235.07, p < .001, η
2
= .54, and a large two-way
interaction of test date and category F(4.82, 953.31) = 35.24, p
< .001, η
2
= .15. These results are consistent with earlier
studies ([2]; [11]; [12]; [13]) showing that XRT is a very effective
tool to increase x-ray image interpretation competency.
To examine the effect of viewpoint on detection performance,
another ANOVA for repeated measures was conducted. A’
scores for both types of views (easy and difficult) with the
within-participant factors test date (first, second, third), view
(easy vs. difficult), and category (guns, IEDs, knives, other)
were used. Large main effects of test date F(1.69, 334.30) =
213.10, p < .001, η
2
= .52, view (easy vs. difficult) F(1, 198) =
887.70, p < .001, η
2
= .82, and category F(2.67, 529.23) =
232.60, p < .001, η
2
= .54 were revealed. Interactions were
significant and there were large main effects for the two-way

3
The standard deviation represents the range of dispersion
around the mean data and indicates the range of individual
differences between the tested airport security screeners.
y = 0.079ln(x) + 0.687
R² = 0.471
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
D
e
t
e
c
t
i
o
n

P
e
r
f
o
r
m
a
n
c
e

(
A
'
)
XRT Difficulty Level
Guns IEDs Knives Other
D
e
t
e
c
t
i
o
n

P
e
r
f
o
r
m
a
n
c
e

(
A
'
)
1st data collection 2nd data collection 3rd data collection

interactions between view and category F(3, 5
.001, η
2
= .40 and date and category F(4.87, 9
< .001, η
2
= .14. For the two-way interaction
F(1.72, 341.20) = 23.12, p < .001, η
2
= .11 a m
revealed. The three-way interaction of test
category was significant and had a small e
1055.70) = 9.31, p < .001, η
2
= .05. Figure
effect of test date for each category in both
views. It demonstrates that for every catego
were easier to detect in easy (or canonical)
depicted from a difficult view. This applies par
However, as results confirm, recurrent CBT
enhance detection performance of screener
even when threat objects were depicte
viewpoints.

Fig. 3: Detection performance A’ and stan
broken up by threat category, test date and
difficult). Note: For security reasons A’ scores
in the figure.

In order to test whether the visual knowledg
training with XRT could also be transferred t
not shown during training but similar in
performance for sets A and B was compared
the detection performance for each threat ca
measurement times broken up by test set. A
detection performance for every category in b
three measurements could be observed
measures ANOVA with the within-participant
(first, second, third), set (A vs. B) and categ
knives, other) revealed large main effects for
330.70) = 203.07, p < .001, η
2
= .51, set (A v
57.05, p < .001, η
2
= .22, and category F
239.49, p < .001, η
2
= .55. Interactions wer
large main effects for the two-way interactio
category F(4.84, 957.63) = 37.34, p < .001,
and category F(2.76, 545.67) = 41.17, p <
small significant effect for the three-way intera
set and category F(5.4, 1069) = 3.45, p < .
found. Taking a closer look at Figure 4 it can
detection performance for sets A and B were
the exception of the category “others”. The re
effect for set therefore must be explained
“others”. Altogether, the results clearly demon
5
594) = 129.61, p <
963.93) = 33.01, p
of date and view
medium effect was
t date, view and
effect size F(5.33,
e 3 visualizes the
easy and difficult
ory threat objects
views than when
rticularly to knives.
T with XRT could
rs very effectively
ed from unusual
ndard deviations
d view (easy vs.
s are not indicated
ge gained through
to items that were
shape, detection
d. Figure 4 shows
tegory at all three
A clear increase in
both sets over the
d. The repeated
t factors test date
gory (guns, IEDs,
r test date F(1.67,
vs. B) F(1, 198) =
F(2.66, 525.94) =
re significant with
ons test date and
η
2
= .16, and set
.001, η
2
= .17. A
action of test date,
.01, η
2
= .02 was
n be observed that
e very similar, with
vealed large main
by the category
strate that training
with XRT not only had an effect on t
were included in the XRT training libr
detection of untrained and unfamiliar
knowledge acquired through XRT tra
to new objects that were similar in sha

Fig. 4: Detection performance A‘
broken up by threat category, test dat
For security reasons A’ scores are n

IV. SUMMARY AND C

The main aim of this study wa
performance in the X-Ray CAT can
level that screening officers have ac
information a recommended minim
derived that indicates whether sc
acknowledged as proficient and we
and recurrent certification. The analys
high correlation between the X
performance in the X-Ray CAT afte
CBT. In other words, screening o
higher XRT difficulty levels also achie
results. As explained earlier, we reco
>= .80 when using the X-Ray CA
certification. The results from our stu
officers who have reached XRT le
achieve this pass mark. Furthermo
level 6 in XRT a screening officer ha
variety of images of passenger bags
image-based factors. According
recognized best when they have b
viewpoints. Thus, taking the setu
screeners who have achieved XRT
trained and able to reliably recogni
images. Objects have then been s
difficult views, with low and high sup
low and medium complexities.
In sum, the results of these ana
screening officers having acquired le
be regarded as proficient with resp
interpretation competency. Moreove
prepared to pass initial and recurren
Ray CAT when the pass mark is set
study [21] have shown that screener
the detection of items that
rary but also led to a better
objects. Apparently, visual
aining could be transferred
ape.
and standard deviations
te and set (A vs. B). Note:
not indicated in the figure.
CONCLUSIONS
as to investigate whether
be related to the difficulty
chieved in XRT. With this
mum difficulty level was
creening officers can be
ell prepared to pass initial
sis of the results showed a
XRT training level and
er 20 months of recurrent
officers who had reached
eved better X-Ray CAT test
ommend a pass mark of A’
AT for initial or recurrent
udy suggest that screening
evel 6 are quite likely to
re, once having acquired
s been exposed to a large
s and a broad variation of
to [3] objects can be
been seen from different
p of XRT into account,
T level 6 should be well
ze threat objects in x-ray
seen in easy as well as
perposition and in bags of
alyses suggest that those
evel 6 in XRT CBS SE can
pect to their x-ray image
er, they should be well
nt certification with the X-
at A’ >= .80. In a previous
rs reach XRT level 6 after
6

one year of training if the training system is being used as
recommended (i.e. 20 minutes per week).
In addition, we have compared performance at three
measurement dates in order to verify the effectiveness of
individually adaptive CBT with XRT. For every threat category
large increases in detection performance were found after 20
months of training. A particular improvement could be observed
for IEDs, indicating that a reliable detection of objects such as
IEDs is not difficult as such, but largely dependent on training.
Furthermore, analyses revealed large effects of viewpoint,
showing that items depicted from unusual (rotated) viewpoints
are more difficult to detect than items depicted from an upright
(canonical) viewpoint. Large improvements in detection
performance were found for every threat category in both
views, which provides further evidence for the effectiveness of
XRT for x-ray image interpretation training. Similar effects were
found when comparing detection performance for items shown
in training (set A) vs. items that had not been seen before, but
were visually similar in shape (set B). As Figure 4
demonstrates, detection performance for both sets A and B
was very similar, with the exception of the category “others”.
Remarkable improvements in detection performance
throughout the three measurement dates could be observed for
every category. Thus, visual knowledge gained through training
with XRT could also be transferred to other objects.
All in all, findings of this study about the effectiveness of
recurrent adaptive CBT are fully consistent with results of
previous studies ([11]; [12]; [13]). Nonetheless, increasing x-ray
image interpretation competency of screening officers with CBT
does not mean that operational performance at airport security
checkpoints will be automatically increased as well. Adaptive
CBT is an indispensible prerequisite for good performance at
security checkpoints, since it allows exposing screeners to
objects they usually do not encounter in real life; however, it is
not the only important performance factor. Additionally to CBT
class-room and on-the-job-training are necessary. Screening
officers require theoretical knowledge and need to be trained on
how to behave adequately or how to deal with special situations
at the checkpoint. As mentioned earlier, large differences
between people with regard to aptitudes and abilities in security
screening exist. The usage of selection tests as part of pre-
employment assessment procedures can therefore very
effectively help to improve performance in security screening
([9]). Moreover, people could easily get distracted or
unmotivated during work, hence, threat image projection (TIP)
is a good technology to apply to increase and maintain
motivation and alertness of screeners. Also, as people often fail
to react appropriately if something unexpected happens,
frequent practical tests with real threat objects should be
conducted regularly ([22]). Apparently, for the achievement of a
good operational performance at security checkpoints several
factors play an important role and need to be taken into account
([22]).

V. REFERENCES

[1] M. Graf, A. Schwaninger, C. Wallraven, and H.H. Bülthoff,
“Psychophysical results from experiments on recognition
and categorization,” Information Society Technologies
(IST) Programme, Cognitive Vision Systems - Cog Vis
(IST-2000-29375), 2002.

[2] A. Schwaninger, “Computer-based training: A powerful
tool to the enhancement of human factors,” Aviation
Security International, vol FEB/2004, pp 31-36.

[3] A. Schwaninger, “Objekterkennung und Signaldetektion:
Anwendung in der Praxis,“ In: B. Kersten & M.T. Groner
(Eds.), Praxisfelder der Wahrnehmungspsychologie,
Bern: Huber, 2004, pp 106-130.

[4] A. Schwaninger, D. Hardmeier, and F. Hofer, “Aviation
security screeners visual abilities and visual knowledge
measurement,” IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems,
vol 20(6), pp 29-35, 2005.

[5] A. Schwaninger, “Evaluation and selection of airport
security screeners,” AIRPORT, vol 02/2003, pp 14-15.

[6] D. Hardmeier, F. Hofer, and A. Schwaninger, „The x-ray
object recognition test (x-ray ORT) - a reliable and valid
instrument for measuring visual abilities needed in x-ray
screening” in IEEE ICCST Proceedings, vol 39, pp 189-
192.

[7] D. Hardmeier, F. Hofer, and A. Schwaninger, “Increased
detection performance in airport security screening using
the x-ray ort as pre-employment assessment tool,” in
Proceedings of the 2
nd
International Conference on
Research in Air Transportation, ICRAT 2006, Belgrade,
Serbia and Montenegro, June 24-28, 2006, pp 393-397.

[8] F. Hofer, D. Hardmeier, and A. Schwaninger, “Increasing
airport security using the X-Ray ORT as effective pre-
employment assessment tool,” in Proceedings of the 4
th

International Aviation Security Technology Symposium,
Washington, D.C., USA, November 27 - December 1,
2006, pp 303-308.

[9] D. Hardmeier, F. Hofer and A. Schwaninger, “The role of
recurrent CBT for increasing aviation security screeners'
visual knowledge and abilities needed in x-ray screening,”
in Proceedings of the 4
th
International Aviation Security
Technology Symposium, Washington, D.C., USA,
November 27 - December 1, 2006, pp 338-342.

[10] A. Schwaninger, and F. Hofer, “Evaluation of CBT for
increasing threat detection performance in X-ray
screening,” In: K. Morgan and M.J. Spector, The Internet
Society 2004, Advances in Learning, Commerce and
Security. Wessex: WIT Press, 2004, pp 147-156.

[11] S. Michel, J.C. de Ruiter, M. Hogervorst, S.M. Koller, R.
Moerland, and A. Schwaninger, "Computer-based training
increases efficiency in x-ray image interpretation by
aviation security screeners,” in Proceedings of the 41st
Carnahan Conference on Security Technology, Ottawa,
October 8-11, 2007, pp 201-206.

[12] A. Bolfing, T. Halbherr, and A. Schwaninger „How image
based factors and human factors contribute to threat
detection performance in x-ray aviation security
screening,” HCI and Usability for Education and Work,
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 5298, pp 419-
7

438.

[13] S.M. Koller, D. Hardmeier, S. Michel, and A.
Schwaninger, “Investigating training, transfer, and
viewpoint effects resulting from recurrent CBT of x-ray
image interpretation,” Journal of Transportation Security,
vol 1(2), pp 81-106, 2008.

[14] S.M. Koller, and A. Schwaninger, “Assessing X-ray image
interpretation competency of airport security screeners,” in
Proceedings of the 2
nd
International Conference on
Research in Air Transportation, ICRAT 2006 Belgrade,
Serbia and Montenegro, June 24-28, 2006, pp 399-402.

[15] A. Schwaninger, A.P. Brigdes, C. Drury, F. Durinckx, P.
Durrant, T. Hodge, F. Hofer, R. Jongejan, R.L. Maguire,
A. McClumpha, E. Neiderman, C. Steinmann, W. Wüest,
Principles and Requirements for Assessing X-Ray Image
Interpretation Competency of Aviation Security Screeners,
White Paper, International Aviation Security Human
Factors Technical Advisory Group (InterTAG),
Competency Assessment Working Group (CAWG), 2005.

[16] I. Pollack, and D.A. Norman, “A non-parametric analysis
of recognition experiments,” Psychonomic Science, vol
75, pp 125-126, 1964.

[17] J.B. Grier, “Nonparametric indexes for sensitivity and bias:
Computing formulas,” Psychological Bulletin, vol 75, pp
424-429, 1971.

[18] D. Aaronson, and B. Watts, “Extension of Grier’s
computational formulas for A’ and B’’ to below-chance
performance,” Psychological Bulletin, vol 102, pp 439-
442, 1987.

[19] R.E. Pastore, E.J. Crawley, M.S. Berens, and M.A. Skelly,
“‘Nonparametric’ A’ and other modern misconceptions
about signal detection theory,” Psychonomic Bulletin &
Review, vol 10, pp 556-569, 2003.

[20] J. Cohen, “Statistical power analysis for the behavioral
sciences,” New York: Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1988.

[21] S. Michel, S.M. Koller, and A. Schwaninger, “Relationship
between level of detection performance and amount of
recurrent computer-based training,” in Proceedings of the
42
nd
Carnahan Conference on Security Technology,
Prague, October 13-16, 2008, pp 299-304.

[22] A. Schwaninger, “Airport security and human factors:
From the weakest to the strongest link in airport security
screening,” Proceedings of the 4th International Aviation
Security Technology Symposium, Washington, D.C.,
USA, November 27 – December 1, 2006, pp 265-270.

VI. VITA

Dr. Stefan Michel is currently working as a scientific
researcher and project manager at the University of Applied
Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and the Center
for Adaptive Security Research and Applications
(www.casra.ch) in Zurich. He manages different national and
international projects in aviation security which provide clients
with cost effective methods to achieve security performance
improvements and operational effectiveness. Stefan has a
strong background in psychology with experience in aviation
security enhancing the interaction between people,
processes, and technology. Previously, he worked at the
University of Zurich (Switzerland) and the Max Planck
Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen (Germany) as
a research scientist and received the doctoral degree in
2008.

Marcia Mendes works as a research scientist at the
University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
(FHNW) and the Center for Adaptive Security Research and
Applications (www.casra.ch) in Zurich. She is a member of
the security research team led by Prof. Dr. Adrian
Schwaninger and involved in several national and
international projects in aviation security. Marcia finished her
studies in psychology (work and organizational psychology,
health psychology, clinical psychology and public health) at
the University of Bremen (Germany) in 2009. Currently, she
is writing her doctoral thesis in the field of aviaton security.

Prof. Dr. Adrian Schwaninger lectures at the University of
Zurich since 1999 and at the University of Applied Sciences
Northwestern Switzerland since 2008. He is the head of the
Center for Adaptive Security Research and Applications
(www.casra.ch) in Zurich and the head of the Institute
Humans in complex Systems (MikS) at the School of Applied
Psychology, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern
Switzerland (www.fhnw.ch/miks). His areas of expertise are
aviation security, human factors, scientifically based software
development, applied cognitive psychology, and human-
machine interaction. Adrian is a member of the ECAC
Training Task Force, the ECAC Technical Task Force, the
ICAO Working Group on Training, and he leads the ECAC
Technical Task Force TIP Study Group. Adrian is recognized
as a leading authority on aviation security. He has more than
70 publications and more than 150 invited presentations. In
1999 he has received the Young Researcher Award in
Psychology. In 2003 he has received the ASI International
Award of Excellence in Aviation Security: Enhancement of
Human Factors.

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