Normative data for three tests of visuocognitive function in primary school children: cross-sectional study

Cathy Williams*, Iain D Gilchrist, Sue Fraser, H M McCarthy, Julie Parker, Penny Warnes, Jill Young, Lea Hyvarinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND/AIMS: There is an increasing recognition that visuocognitive difficulties occur in children with neurodevelopmental problems. We obtained normative data for the performance of primary school children using three tests of visuocognitive function that are practicable in a clinical setting.

METHODS: We tested 214 children aged between 4 and 11 years without known developmental problems, using tests to assess (1) orientation recognition and adaptive movement (postbox task), (2) object recognition (rectangles task) and (3) spatial integration (contours task).

RESULTS: 96% could do the postbox task with ease-only 4% (all aged <9 years) exhibited minor difficulties. Errors in the rectangles task decreased with age: 33% of children aged 4-5 years had major difficulties but >99% of children aged ≥6 years had no, or minor, difficulties. Median scores for the contours task improved with age, and after age 8 years, 99% could see the contour using long-range spatial integration rather than density.

CONCLUSIONS: These different aspects of children's visuocognitive performance were testable in a field setting. The data provide a benchmark by which to judge performance of children with neurodevelopmental problems and may be useful in assessment with a view to providing effective supportive strategies for children whose visuocognitive skills are lower than the expectation for their age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-756
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Visual Perception


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