In recent years, research on cognitive aging increasingly has focused on the cognitive development across middle adulthood.
However, little is still known about the long-term effects of intensive job-specific training of fluid intellectual abilities. In this study we
examined the effects of age- and job-specific practice of cognitive abilities on detection performance in airport security x-ray screening.
In Experiment 1 (N = 308; 24–65 years), we examined performance in the X-ray Object Recognition Test (ORT), a speeded visual object
recognition task in which participants have to find dangerous items in x-ray images of passenger bags; and in Experiment 2 (N = 155;
20–61 years) in an on-the-job object recognition test frequently used in baggage screening. Results from both experiments show high
performance in older adults and significant negative age correlations that cannot be overcome by more years of job-specific experience.
We discuss the implications of our findings for theories of lifespan cognitive development and training concepts.