NSHD – Age 60-64 – Timed Letter Search/Letter Cancellation Test

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The MRC National Survey of Health of Development (NSHD) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 60-64 sweep using the Timed Letter Search/Letter Cancellation Test.

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.


Domain:Processing speed
Measures:Attention/concentration
Mental speed
Visual scanning
CHC:Gv (Visual Processing)
Gs (Processing Speed)
Administration method:Research nurse; face to face; pen and paper
Procedure:Same as at age 53
Link to questionnaire:https://skylark.ucl.ac.uk/NSHD/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=questionnaires:2008_nurse.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:The number of hits, misses and row/column reached were recorded, meaning multiple scoring schemes are possible. Although there is no definitive scoring system used, the most widely adopted approach is to calculate speed (number of letters scanned) and/or accuracy (dividing the number of missed targets for each trial by the corresponding speed score).
Item-level variable(s):VSCL09 - VSRWN09
Total score/derived variable(s):VSP09
Descriptives:Accuracy score (raw score)
N = 2,182
Range = 98 - 591
Mean = 266.71
SD = 71.74
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants (months):Mean = 760.24, SD = 13.36, Range = 724-780
Other sweep and/or cohort:NSHD – Age 43 – Timed Letter Search/Letter Cancellation Test
NSHD – Age 53 – Timed Letter Search/Letter Cancellation Test
NSHD – Age 68-70 – Timed Letter Search/Letter Cancellation Test
NCDS – Age 50 – Timed Letter Search/Letter Cancellation Test
NCDS – Age 61-63 – Proposed repeat of tests at age 50
BCS70 – Age 46-47 – Timed Letter Search/Letter Cancellation Test
Source:The letter cancellation test adapted from the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFA Study, 1998).
Technical resources:None
Reference examples:Hurst, L., Stafford, M., Cooper, R., Hardy, R., Richards, M., & Kuh, D. (2013). Lifetime socioeconomic inequalities in physical and cognitive aging. American Journal of Public Health, 103(9), 1641-1648.
Masi, S., Georgiopoulos, G., Khan, T., Johnson, W., Wong, A., Charakida, M., ... & Deanfield, J. (2018). Patterns of adiposity, vascular phenotypes and cognitive function in the 1946 British Birth Cohort. BMC Medicine, 16(1), 75.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.