Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Educational and Psychological Measurement (December 2006) 66(6): 984-1,000. Copyright 2006, Sage Publications. DOI: 10.1177/0013164406288170. Used by permission.


Although deficits in visual attention are often postulated as an important component of many declines in cognitive processing and functional outcomes in older adults, surprisingly little emphasis has been placed on evaluating psychometric instruments with which individual differences in visual attention ability can be assessed. This article reports the development and beginning psychometric evaluation of DriverScan, a change detection measure of attentional search for older adults. A constrained graded response model is used to approximate response speed and accuracy with categories of immediate, delayed, or no response. DriverScan items are shown to have excellent reliability over the studied sample, and the distribution of items is shown to adequately cover the difficulty continuum and to be maximally sensitive at distinguishing individuals with lower than average abilities (i.e., individuals with attention deficits). Item design features representing goal-directed and stimulus-driven attentional processing significantly predict item difficulty as hypothesized.