A Quantitative Methodology for Identifying Attributes Which Contribute to Performance for Officers at the Transportation Security Administration

  • Glory EmmanuelEmail author
  • Robert Kittinger
  • Ann Speed
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9183)


Performance at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport checkpoints must be consistently high to skillfully mitigate national security threats and incidents. To accomplish this, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) must exceptionally perform in threat detection, interaction with passengers, and efficiency. It is difficult to measure the human attributes that contribute to high performing TSOs because cognitive ability such as memory, personality, and competence are inherently latent variables. Cognitive scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a methodology that links TSOs’ cognitive ability to their performance. This paper discusses how the methodology was developed using a strict quantitative process, the strengths and weaknesses, as well as how this could be generalized to other non-TSA contexts. The scope of this project is to identify attributes that distinguished high and low TSO performance for the duties at the checkpoint that involved direct interaction with people going through the checkpoint.


Measuring and adapting to individual differences Cognitive modeling Perception Emotion and interaction Quantifying latent variables 



Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000, Sandia Report 2015-1424C. Approved for public release; further dissemination unlimited. This research was funded in part or whole by an Interagency Agreement between the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Energy.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Principal Investigator, Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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