Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Brent T. Langhals, PhD.


A common assumption is that items that evoke strong emotions are more easily recognized than items that do not evoke strong emotions (Bessette-Symons, 2008). For example, items such as guns or knives may evoke strong emotions within some people, and it may be presumed that these items may be more easily recognized by people that have strong emotions associated with them. If this is true, then perhaps these people would be more apt to locate these items in situations such as baggage screening services that rely on accurate detection of weapons for the public's safety. This study explores this reasoning to determine if emotional biases or familiarity impact the ability of subjects to detect guns or knives in a baggage screening scenario. Subjects were administered a questionnaire to determine their degree of emotional bias and familiarity with guns or knives, and then were asked to detect guns or knives in a simulated baggage screening scenario. The results indicate that while increasing the sample size of the subject pool did not produce any significant effects on the number of weapon detections, adding more detailed emotional response questions seemed to produce a significant effect for positive emotion rather than negative emotion.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number