Digit Span as a measure of everyday attention: a study of ecological validity

Percept Mot Skills. 2003 Dec;97(3 Pt 2):1209-18. doi: 10.2466/pms.2003.97.3f.1209.


This study investigated the effectiveness of the WAIS-III Digit Span subtest to predict the everyday attention of 75 participants with heterogeneous neurological conditions who were administered the Digit Span subtest as well as the ecologically valid Test of Everyday Attention. In addition, the more visually oriented Picture Completion subtest along with the verbally loaded National Adult Reading Test were administered. Analysis indicated that, although Digit Span was a weak but statistically significant predictor of attentional ability (accounting for 12.7% of the unique variance). Picture Completion was a somewhat stronger predictor (accounting for 19% of the unique variance). The weak association of Digit Span and the Test of Everyday Attention, along with the finding that Picture Completion was a better predictor of performance on the Test of Everyday Attention, question the clinical utility of using Digit Span as a measure of everyday attention.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention*
  • Ecology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Wechsler Scales*