X-ray screening of hold baggage: Are the same visual-cognitive abilities needed for 2D and 3D imaging?
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2D multi-view X-ray imaging technology is widely used for security screening of hold baggage at airports. Newer technology is based on 3D CT imaging. Such systems offer the possibility to rotate a bag around 360 degrees. With the transition from 2D multi-view to advanced CT imaging, the question arises whether airport security officers (screeners) need the same visualcognitive abilities when visually inspecting X-ray images of hold baggage. This study investigated the relationship between visualcognitive abilities and visual inspection performance of screeners. Screeners conducted a computer-based visual cognitive test battery (VCTB) and a simulated hold baggage screening task with 2D and 3D imaging. We found that aspects of processing speed and visual processing correlated significantly with visual inspection performance of screeners using 2D imaging technology. In comparison, performance of screeners that visually inspected 3D images showed less correlations with the VCTB. These results indicate that with the expected change from 2D to 3D imaging technology in airport security, visual-cognitive requirements of the screeners might change. Therefore, further studies need to elucidate in more detail what visual-cognitive skills future 3D screeners need as it could affect personnel selection and development.