Letter cancellation performance across the adult life span

Clin Neuropsychol. 2001 Dec;15(4):521-30. doi: 10.1076/clin.15.4.521.1881.


Letter cancellation tasks are paper and pencil tests widely used in clinical and research settings as quick measures of attention/concentration, visual-spatial scanning abilities, and visual-spatial dysfunctions such as spatial neglect. Despite their popularity, only a few studies have investigated effects of age on letter cancellation performance and no comprehensive large-scale adult life-span norms are available for any of the letter cancellation tasks. We have developed a letter cancellation test, and we report a normative data obtained from a partially stratified sample of 351 healthy adults between 18 and 91 years of age. The results show the expected large age-related decline in the speed of letter cancellation performance and no age-related differences in spatial distribution of cancellation errors. We also provide various equations for precise predictions of Cancel H test performance. The results of correlational analyses show high reliability and provide evidence for both convergent and divergent validity of our letter cancellation task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Visual Perception*