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We compared controllers and college students memory task performance and brain activities while performing the task. The purpose of these comparisons was to test the hypothesis that controllers must have acquired special memorization skills from many years of air traffic control and that their brains would respond differently from college students’ brains. To perform the task, they must maintain a sequence of characters in their working memory and manipulate the characters. We compared controllers’ brain activities to college students’ recorded at the prefrontal cortex with functional near infrared (fNIR) spectroscopy while performing the task. Our results showed that controllers performed significantly better than college students. Controllers and college students also showed distinctly different brain activity patterns. Controllers used the areas of the prefrontal cortex more evenly than college students. We discuss the implications of the group difference.