Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • This chapter is unavailable for purchase
  • Cited by 26
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

40 - Aging and Expertise

from PART VI - GENERALIZABLE MECHANISMS MEDIATING EXPERTISE AND GENERAL ISSUES

Summary

Introduction

Outstanding accomplishments by older individuals, such as the wisdom of elderly statesmen, the virtuoso performances of older musicians, or the swan-song oeuvres of famous composers have been the subject of admiration throughout human history. Commonsense or folk psychology rarely considers such achievements as incompatible with older age. On the contrary, in the public's opinion advanced age has been identified with maturity or heightened levels of experience that complement the exceptional talents or gifts that had presumably enabled outstanding individuals to surpass ordinary people in the first place. Allegedly, these dispositions are the driving force leading to high achievements, and the presumed stability of related capacities is believed to guarantee that outstanding individuals' superior skills remain at their disposition throughout adulthood. In traditionalist cultures (as in Germany or Japan) such appreciations of early achievement and seniority overshadow actual accomplishments and remain an integral part of society and job promotion until this day.

The scientific study of interindividual differences and the experimental investigation of human performance in normal adults portray a less optimistic picture of adult development, at least in the normal population. Ubiquitous findings of negative age-graded changes in psychometric ability factors and reduced speed or accuracy in most cognitive-motor tasks have motivated theories of broad decline, like the notion of general, age-related slowing (Salthouse, 1985a). In the light of these findings, the accomplishments by older experts and the high performance levels in many older professionals present a puzzle.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
References
Ackerman, P. L. (1988). Determinants of individual differences during skill acquisition: Cognitive abilities and information processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 117, 288–318.
Allaire, J. C., & Marsiske, M. (1999). Everyday cognition: Age and intellectual ability correlates. Psychology and Aging, 14, 627–644.
Allaire, J. C., & Marsiske, M. (2002). Well- and ill-defined measures of everyday cognition: Relationship to elders' intellectual ability and functional status. Psychology and Aging, 17, 101–115.
Anderson, J. R. (1982). Acquisition of cognitive skill. Psychological Review, 89, 369–406.
Baird, L. L. (1985). Do grades and tests predict adult accomplishment? Research in Higher Education, 23, 3–85.
Baltes, P. B., & Baltes, M. M. (1990). Psychological perspectives on successful aging: The model of selective optimization with compensation. In Baltes, P. B. & Baltes, M. M. (Eds.), Successful aging: Perspectives from the behavioral sciences (pp. 1–34). Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Book, W. F. (1924). Voluntary motor ability of the world's champion typists. Journal of Applied Psychology, 8, 283–308.
Bosman, E. A. (1993). Age-related differences in the motoric aspects of transcription typing skill. Psychology and Aging, 8, 87–102.
Callahan, J. S., Kiker, D. S., & Cross, T. (2003). Does method matter? A meta-analysis of the effects of training method on older learner training performance. Journal of Management, 29, 663–680.
Cattell, R. B. (1971). Abilities: Their structure, growth, and action. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Cerella, J. (1985). Information processing rates in the elderly. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 67–83.
Cerella, J. (1990). Aging and information processing rates in the elderly. In Birren, J. E. & Schaie, K. W. (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (3rd ed., pp. 201–221). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Cerella, J., & Fozard, J. L. (1984). Lexical access and age. Developmental Psychology, 20, 235–243.
Charness, N. (1981a). Aging and skilled problem solving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 110, 21–38.
Charness, N. (1981b). Search in chess: Age and skill differences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human perception and Performance, 7, 467–476.
Charness, N. (1983). Age, skill, and bridge bidding: A chronometric analysis. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 22, 406–416.
Charness, N. (1989). Expertise in chess and bridge. In Klahr, D. & Kotovsky, K. (Eds.), Complex information processing: The impact of Herbert A. Simon (pp. 183–208). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Charness, N., & Bosman, E. A. (1990). Expertise and aging: Life in the lab. In Hess, T. M. (Ed.), Aging and cognition: Knowledge organization and utilization (pp. 343–385). North-Holland: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.
Charness, N., Krampe, R. T., & Mayr, U. (1996). The role of practice and coaching in entrepreneurial skill domains: An international comparison of life-span chess skill acquisition. In Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.), The road to excellence: The acquisition of expert performance in the arts and sciences, sports, and games (pp. 51–80). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Charness, N., Park, D. C., & Sabel, B. A. (2001). Communication, technology and aging: Opportunities and challenges for the future. New York: Springer.
Charness, N., Tuffiash, M., Krampe, R., Reingold, E. M., & Vasyukova, E. (2005). The role of deliberate practice in chess expertise. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19, 151–165.
Chase, W. G., & Ericsson, K. A. (1982). Skill and working memory. In Bower, G. H. (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 16, pp. 1–58). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Clarkson-Smith, L., & Hartley, A. A. (1990). The game of bridge as an exercise in working memory and reasoning. Journal of Gerontology, 45, P233–P238.
Colonia-Willner, R. (1998). Practical intelligence at work: Relationship between aging and cognitive efficiency among managers in a bank environment. Psychology and Aging, 13, 45–57.
Coon, H., & Carey, G. (1989). Genetic and environmental determinants of musical ability in twins. Behavioral Genetics, 19, 183–193.
Detterman, D. K., & Daniel, M. H. (1989). Correlations of mental tests with each other and with cognitive variables are highest for low IQ groups. Intelligence, 13, 349–359.
Dixon, R. A., & Baltes, P. B. (1986). Toward life-span research on the functions and pragmatics of intelligence. In Sternberg, R. J. & Wagner, R. K. (Eds.), Practical intelligence: Nature and origins of competence in the everyday world (pp. 203–235). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Elo, A. E. (1965). Age changes in master chess performances. Journal of Gerontology, 20, 289–299.
Elo, A. E. (1986). The rating of chessplayers, past and present (2nd ed.). New York: Arco.
Ericsson, K. A. (1990). Peak performance and age: An examination of peak performance in sports. In Baltes, P. B. & Baltes, M. M. (Eds.), Successful aging: Perspectives from the behavioral sciences (pp. 164–196). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ericsson, K. A., & Charness, N. (1994). Expert performance: Its structure and acquisition. American Psychologist, 49, 725–747.
Ericsson, K. A., & Kintsch, W. (1995). Long-term working memory. Psychological Review, 102, 211–245.
Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100, 363–406.
Ericsson, K. A., & Lehmann, A. C. (1996). Expert and exceptional performance: Evidence on maximal adaptations on task constraints. Annual Review of Psychology, 47, 273–305.
Fitts, P. (1964). Perceptual-motor skill learning. In Melton, A. W. (Ed.), Categories of human learning (pp. 243–285). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Fleishman, E. A. (1972). On the relation between abilities, learning, and human performance. American Psychologist, 27, 1017–1032.
Galton, F. Sir. (1979). Hereditary genius: An inquiry into its laws and consequences. London: Julian Friedman Publishers. (Originally published in 1869).
Hambrick, D. Z., & Engle, R. W. (2002). Effects of domain knowledge, working memory capacity and age on cognitive performance: An investigation of the knowledge-is-power hypothesis. Cognitive Psychology, 44, 339–387.
Hambrick, D. Z., Salthouse, T. A., & Meinz, E. J. (1999). Predictors of crossword puzzle proficiency and moderators of age-cognition relations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128, 131–164.
Hasher, L., Stoltzfus, E. R., Zacks, R. T., & Rympa, B. (1991). Age and inhibition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 17, 163–169.
Hertzog, C. (1989). Influences of cognitive slowing on age differences in intelligence. Developmental Psychology, 25, 636–651.
Hoffman, R. R., Shadbolt, N. R., Burton, A. M., & Klein, G. (1995). Eliciting knowledge from experts: A methodological analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 62, 129–158.
Horn, J. L. (1982). The theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence in relation to concepts of cognitive psychology and aging in adulthood. In Craik, F. I. M. & Trehub, S. (Eds.), Aging and cognitive processes (pp. 237–278). New York: Plenum.
Horn, J. L., & Masunaga, H. (2000). New directions for research into aging and intelligence: The development of expertise. In Perfect, T. J. & Maylor, E. A. (Eds.), Models of cognitive aging. Debates in psychology. (pp. 125–159). New York: Oxford University Press.
Howe, M. J. A., Davidson, J. W., & Sloboda, J. A. (1999). Innate talents: Reality or myth? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21, 399–442.
Hulin, C. L., Henry, R. A., & Noon, S. L. (1990). Adding a dimension: Time as a factor in the generalizability of predictive relationships. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 328–340.
Kaufman, A. S. (2001). WAIS-III IQS, Horn's theory, and generational changes from young adulthood to old age. Intelligence, 29, 131–167.
Keele, S. W., & Hawkins, H. L. (1982). Explorations of individual differences relevant to high level skill. Journal of Motor Behavior, 14, 3–23.
Keele, S. W., Pokorny, R. A., Corcos, D. M., & Ivry, R. (1985). Do perception and motor production share common timing mechanisms: A correlational analysis. Acta Psychologica, 60, 173–191.
Kliegl, R., Smith, J., & Baltes, P. B. (1989). Testing-the-limits and the study of adult age differences in cognitive plasticity of a mnemonic skill. Developmental Psychology, 25, 247–256.
Knopf, M., Preussler, W., & Stefanek, J. (1995). “18, 20, 2.” – Does expertise in skat compensate for age-related deficits in working memory? Swiss Journal of Psychology – Schweizerische Zeitschrift Fuer Psychologie – Revue Suisse de Psychologie, 54, 225–236.
Kramer, A. F., Hahn, S., McAuley, E., Cohen, N. J., Banich, M. T., Harrison, C., et al. (1999). Exercise, aging, and cognition: Healthy body, healthy mind? In Rogers, W. A. & Fisk, A. D. (Eds.), Human factors interventions for the health care of older adults (pp. 91–120). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Kramer, A. F., & Willis, S. L. (2002). Enhancing the cognitive vitality of older adults. Current Directions in Psychological Sciences, 11, 173–177.
Krampe, R. T. (1994). Maintaining excellence: Cognitive-motor performance in pianists differing in age and skill level. Berlin, Germany: Edition Sigma.
Krampe, R. T. (2002). Aging, expertise and fine motor movement. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 26, 769–776.
Krampe, R. T., & Baltes, P. B. (2003). Intelligence as adaptive resource development and resource allocation: A new look through the lenses of SOC and expertise. In Sternberg, R. J. & Grigorenko, E. L. (Eds.), The psychology of abilities, competencies, and expertise (pp. 31–69). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Krampe, R. T., Engbert, R., & Kliegl, R. (2001). Age-specific problems in rhythmic timing. Psychology and Aging, 16, 12–30.
Krampe, R. T., Engbert, R., & Kliegl, R. (2002). The effects of expertise and age on rhythm production: Adaptations to timing and sequencing constraints. Brain and Cognition, 48, 179–194.
Krampe, R. T., & Ericsson, K. A. (1996). Maintaining excellence: Deliberate practice and elite performance in young and older pianists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 125, 331–359.
Krampe, R. T., Kliegl, R., Mayr, U., Engbert, R., & Vorberg, D. (2000). The fast and the slow of skilled bimanual rhythm production: Parallel versus integrated timing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 26, 206–233.
Krampe, R. T., Mayr, U., & Kliegl, R. (2005). Timing, sequencing, and executive control in repetitive movement production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31, 379–397.
Kubeck, J. E., Delp, N. D., Haslett, T. K., & McDaniel, M. A. (1996). Does job-related training performance decline with age? Psychology and Aging, 11, 92–107.
Labouvie, G. V., Frohring, W. R., & Baltes, P. B. (1973). Changing relationship between recall performance and abilities as a function of stage of learning and timing of recall. Journal of Educational Psychology, 64, 191–198.
Lehmann, A. C., & Ericsson, K. A. (1993). Sight-reading ability of expert pianists in the context of piano accompanying. Psychomusicology, 12, 182–195.
Lehmann, A. C., & Ericsson, K. A. (1996). Performance without preparation: Structure and acquisition of expert sight-reading and accompanying performance. Psychomusicology, 15(1–2), 1–29.
Lima, S. D., Hale, S., & Myerson, J. (1991). How general is general slowing? Evidence from the lexical domain. Psychology and Aging, 6, 416–425.
Lindenberger, U., Kliegl, R., & Baltes, P. B. (1992). Professional expertise does not eliminate negative age differences in imagery-based memory performance during adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 7, 585–593.
Lindenberger, U., & Pötter, U. (1998). The complex nature of unique and shared effects in hierarchical linear regression: Implications for developmental psychology. Psychological Methods, 3, 218–230.
MacKay, D. G. (1982). The problems of flexibility, fluency, and speed-accuracy trade-off in skilled behavior. Psychological Review, 89(5), 483–506.
Masunaga, H., & Horn, J. (2001). Expertise in relation to aging changes in components of intelligence. Psychology & Aging, 16, 293–311.
Maylor, E. A. (1994). Ageing and the retrieval of specialized and general knowledge: Performance of masterminds. British Journal of Psychology, 85, 105–114.
McClelland, G. H., & Judd, C. M. (1993). Statistical difficulties of detecting interactions and moderator effects. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 376–390.
McEvoy, G. M., & Cascio, W. F. (1989). Cumulative evidence of the relationship between employee age and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 11–17.
Meinz, E. J. (2000). Experience-based attenuation of age-related differences in music cognition tasks. Psychology and Aging, 15, 297–312.
Meinz, E. J., & Salthouse, T. A. (1998). The effects of age and experience on memory for visually presented music. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 53B, P60–P69.
Mireles, D. E., & Charness, N. (2002). Computational explorations of the influence of structured knowledge on age-related cognitive decline. Psychology & Aging, 17, 245–259.
Morrow, D., Leirer, V., Altiteri, P., & Fitzsimmons, C. (1994). When expertise reduces age differences in performance. Psychology and Aging, 9, 134–148.
Morrow, D. G., Menard, W. E., Stine-Morrow, E. A. L., Teller, T., & Bryant, D. (2001). The influence of expertise and task factors on age differences in pilot communication. Psychology and Aging, 16, 31–46.
Morrow, D. G., Ridolfo, H. E., Menard, W. E., Sanborn, A., Stine-Morrow, E. A. L., Magnor, C., et al. (2003). Environmental support promotes expertise-based mitigation of age differences on pilot communication tasks. Psychology and Aging, 18, 268–284.
Myerson, J., Hale, S., Wagstaff, D., Poon, L. W., & Smith, G. A. (1990). The information-loss model: A mathematical theory of age-related cognitive slowing. Psychological Review, 97, 475–487.
Over, R., & Thomas, P. (1995). Age and skilled psychomotor performance: A comparison of younger and older golfers. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 41(1), 1–12.
Plomin, R. (1990). The role of inheritance of behavior. Science, 248, 183–188.
Plomin, R., & Rende, R. (1991). Human behavioral genetics. Annual Review of Psychology, 42, 161–190.
Rabbitt, P. M. A. (1993). Crystal quest. A search for the basis of maintenance of practised skills into old age. In Baddeley, A. & Weiskrantz, L. (Eds.), Attention: Selection, awareness, and control. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.
Rapp, M., Krampe, R. T., & Baltes, P. B. (2005). Adaptive task prioritization in aging: Selective ressource allocation to postural control is preserved in Alzheimer disease. American Journal of Geriaric Psychiatry 14 (1), 52–61.
Rosenbaum, D. A., Kenny, S., & Derr, M. (1983). Hierarchical control of rapid movement sequences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 9, 86–102.
Salthouse, T. A. (1984). Effects of age and skill in typing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 113, 345–371.
Salthouse, T. A. (1985a). Speed of behavior and its implications for cognition. In Birren, J. E. & Schaie, K. W. (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (pp. 400–426). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Salthouse, T. A. (1985b). A theory of cognitive aging. Amsterdam: North Holland Press.
Salthouse, T. A. (1991a). Age and experience effects on the interpretation of orthographic drawings of three-dimensional objects. Psychology and Aging, 6, 426–433.
Salthouse, T. A. (1991b). Expertise as the circumvention of human processing limitations. In Ericsson, K. A. & Smith, J. (Eds.), Toward a general theory of expertise: Prospects and limits (pp. 286–300). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Salthouse, T. A. (1991c). Mediation of adult age differences in cognition by reductions in working memory and speed of processing. Psychological Science, 2, 179–183.
Salthouse, T. A. (1996). The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review, 103, 403–428.
Salthouse, T. A., Babcock, R. L., Skovronek, E., Mitchell, D. R. D., & Palmon, R. (1990). Age and experience effects in spatial visualization. Developmental Psychology, 26, 128–136.
Salthouse, T. A., & Maurer, T. J. (1996). Aging, job performance, and career development. In Birren, J. E. & Schaie, K. W. (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (4th ed., pp. 353–364). New York: Academic Press.
Schaie, K. W. (1989). Perceptual speed in adulthood: Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Psychology and Aging, 4, 443–453.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practival and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262–274.
Schooler, C., & Mulatu, M. S. (2001). The reciprocal effects of leisure time activities and intellectual functioning in older people: A longitudinal analysis. Psychology and Aging, 16, 466–482.
Schooler, C., Mulatu, M. S., & Oates, G. (1999). The continuing effects of substantively complex work on the intellectual functioning of older workers. Psychology and Aging, 14, 483–506.
Schulz, R., & Curnow, C. (1988). Peak performance and age among superathletes: Track and field, swimming, baseball, tennis and golf. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 43, 113–120.
Schulz, R., Musa, D., Staszewski, J., & Siegler, R. S. (1994). The relationship between age and major league baseball performance: Implications for development. Psychology and Aging, 9, 274–286.
Simonton, D. K. (1996). Creative expertise: A life-span developmental perspective. In Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.), The road to excellence (pp. 227–253). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Singer, T., Lindenberger, U., & Baltes, P. B. (2003). Plasticity of memory for new learning in very old age: A story of major loss? Psychology and Aging, 18, 306–317.
Sloboda, J. A. (1991). Musical expertise. In Ericsson, K. A. & Smith, J. (Eds.), Toward a general theory of expertise. Prospects and limits (pp. 153–171). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Sparrow, P. R., & Davies, D. R. (1988). Effects of age, tenure, training, and job complexity on technical performance. Psychology and Aging, 3, 307–314.
Starkes, J., Deakin, J., Allard, F., Hodges, N. J., & Hayes, A. (1996). Deliberate practice: What is it anyway? In Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.), The road to excellence: The acquisition of expert performance in the arts and sciences, sports, and games (pp. 81–106). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Sternberg, R. J. (1999). Intelligence as developing expertise. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24, 359–375.
Sternberg, R. J., & Wagner, R. K. (1986). Practical intelligence: Nature and origins of competence in the everyday world. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Swaen, G. M. H., Kant, I., Amelsvoort, L. G. P. M., & Beurskens, A. J. H. M. (2002). Job mobility, its determinants, and its effects: Longitudinal data from the maastricht cohort study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 7, 121–129.
Taylor, J. L., O'Hara, R., Mumenthaler, M. S., Rosen, A. C., & Yesavage, J. A. (2005). Cognitive ability, expertise, and age differences in following air-traffic control instructions. Psychology and Aging, 20, 117–133.
Telford, C. W., & Spangler, H. (1935). Training effects in motor skills. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 141–147.
Wagner, R. K., & Sternberg, R. J. (1991). Tacit knowledge: Its uses in identifying, assessing, and developing managerial talent. In Jones, J., Steffy, B., & Bray, D. (Eds.), Applying psychology in business: The manager's handbook (pp. 333–344). New York: Human Sciences Press.
Waldman, D. A., & Avolio, B. J. (1986). A meta-analysis of age-differences in job-performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 33–38.
Walsh, D. A., & Hershey, D. A. (1993). Mental models and the maintenance of complex problem-solving skills in old age. In Cerella, J., Rybash, J., Hoyer, W., & Commons, M. (Eds.), Adult information processing: Limits on loss (pp. 553–584). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Westerman, S. J., Davies, D. R., Glendon, A. I., & Stammers, R. B. (1998). Ageing and word processing competence: Compensation or compilation. British Journal of Psychology, 89, 579–597.
Willis, S. L., & Marsiske, M. (1991). Lifespan perspective on practical intelligence. In Tupper, T. E. & Cicerone, K. D. (Eds.), The neuropsychology of everyday life: Issues in development and rehabilitation (pp. 183–197). Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Winner, E. (1982). Invented worlds: The psychology of the arts. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Woollacott, M., & Shumway-Cook, A. (2002). Attention and the control of posture and gait: A review of an emerging area of research. Gait and Posture, 16, 1–14.
Yang, L., Krampe, R. T., & Baltes, P. B. (2006). Basic forms of cognitive plasticity extended into the oldest-old: Retest learning, age, and cognitive functioning. Psychology and Aging, in press.