When expertise reduces age differences in performance

D. Morrow, V. Leirer, P. Altieri, C. Fitzsimmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors examined whether aviation expertise reduces age differences in a laboratory task that was similar to routine air traffic control (ATC) communication. In Experiment 1, older and younger pilots and nonpilots read typical ATC messages (e.g., commands to change aircraft heading). After each message, they read back (repeated) the commands, which is a routine ATC procedure requiring short-term memory. Ss also performed less domain-relevant tasks. Expertise eliminated age differences in repeating heading commands, but did not reduce age differences for the less relevant tasks. In Experiment 2, expertise reduced but did not eliminate age differences in repeating heading commands from spoken messages. The results suggest that expertise compensates age declines in resources when the task is highly domain relevant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-148
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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