Environmental support for older and younger pilots' comprehension of air traffic control information

Daniel G. Morrow, Lisa M.Soederberg Miller, Heather E. Ridolfo, William Menard, Elizabeth A.L. Stine-Morrow, Cliff Magnor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated whether expertise mitigates age differences on pilot communication tasks when experts rely on environmental support. Pilots and nonpilots listened to air traffic control messages describing a route through an airspace, during which they referred to a chart of the airspace. The routes were high (waypoint routes anchored to navigational reference points on the chart) or low (vector routes that were not) in contextual support. Participants read back messages and answered questions about aircraft position (which required integration of message and chart information) or altitude (which did not). Pilots more accurately answered questions. The expertise advantage for position, but not altitude, questions was greater for waypoint routes, showing differential use of environmental support by experts. Age did not moderate these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P11-P18
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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