Could airport screeners find a water bottle, but miss the box cutter?

It's okay, I already found the bottled water.

Research shows that airport baggage screeners finding an easy-to-spot item such as a water bottle may make it more difficult to find other more dangerous items, such as box cutters. This concept, called "satisfaction of search," is known to radiologists, where the radiologist finds one thing on the X-ray, thinks they're done, and moves on without searching as diligently for something else. The study from Duke University looks at non-medical areas and is applicable to airport security.

Magicians exploit this when they allow you to seem to figure out how a trick works, so you'll relax your attention at another more crucial moment. This principle is likely found in many other areas where someone wants to deceive you.

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