D2-R Concentrated attention test

Prof. Dr Rolf Brickenkamp, Hogrefe France 






Observation time

Measure attention ability

Paper version

Selection of staff, Attention function

Psychologist Occupational Therapists psychiatrists HR Director


5 min

The D2 test assesses the ability to distinguish details in a limited time with a mobilization of concentration. 

This test can be used for recruitment and to strengthen the company's security policy.

The ability of concentration and attention is critical for numerous positions in industry or transport, and can be easily measured during the recruitment process.

Original developed for the evaluation of driving abilities, the D2 became one of the reference tests for attention assessment across Europe. This test does not depend on the intelligence of the candidates, but on their ability to discern details. It therefore aims to take over the visual attention and concentration.

It ensures the capacity of attention in critical situations or positions. 

Through a visual medium, the D2 reveals an ability to concentrate based on external visual stimu

Its success requires individual coordination stimulation, and control functions that are manifested in the form of three behavioural components:

The timing and /or amount: the volume of information processed in a given unit of time (stimulation).

Positive quality: the care and precision of the service provided is inversely determined along with error rates (control).

It allows to draw conclusions about the specifics of behaviour at work, such as the initial excitement, consistency or instability, early saturation, fatigue and other criteria (control). 

The d2-R indices

The capacity for concentration therefore results of the individual coordination of these behavioural components. 

CC: The concentration capacity

This index reflects the overall performance. A concentration test is a test that, without time constraints, can be solved by practically everyone. The instruction - to work quickly and fairly - is, in a sense, conflictual since the increase in speed is usually accompanied by an increase in the number of errors. and whoever does not want to make mistakes will have to work more slowly. This is why the concentration capacity of the d2-R takes into account both the rhythm and the errors.

CCT: The speed of treatment

This index measures the pace of work of the candidate during his test. The speed at which a person works depends essentially on two factors:

- his ability to work quickly and in a concentrated manner,

- its decision, rather strategic, to work quickly at the expense, possibly, accuracy.

E%: The accuracy of the treatment:

This index is based on the number of errors committed (of omission and confusion) with regard to the number of target characters processed (CCT). The error percentage is thus calculated. The d2-R accuracy score therefore reflects, relative to the representative sample, the candidate's position as to the accuracy of his treatment.


Also, the treatment style curve provides a visualization of the participant's strategy of whether he prefers accuracy or speed. The treatment style curve gives an idea of ​​the profile of the subject faced with this type of task: rather impulsive, reflective, etc. The d2-R reports also provide clues, for each series handled by the candidate, with the number of "omission", "confusion" or letter errors.


These non-standardized indices make it possible to study the candidate's attention profile in greater depth, for example to ensure the validity of his or her handover.


Clinical psychology and psychiatry


The ability to concentrate is a diagnostic criterion for various pathologies: ADHD, depression, schizophrenia. The d2-R can then be indicated to complete the diagnostic evaluation in order to objectify a possible attentional deficit with regard to the reference population of the patient. D2-R is also useful for objectifying patient-reported disorders ("I have trouble concentrating"), to evaluate the effect of therapeutic measures to improve attention and concentration skills (the PIFAM, for example) or the side effects of certain medical or pharmacological treatments.




Alteration of attentional functions is frequently observed in patients with cerebral involvement (stroke, head trauma, tumor). D2-R assesses the impact of these attacks on concentrated attention.


School Psychology


Concentration disorders are the most cited disorders by teachers. They can partly explain a general or specific school failure as well as behavioral disorders in the classroom. D2-R may help to clarify certain situations by excluding or confirming the disorder of concentration disorder.


Environmental Psychology


Researchers have been interested in the impact of environmental factors on cognitive functions. In particular, several studies have shown, using d2-R, that occupational lead exposure was associated with alterations in attentional and spatio-temporal functions. As such, the d2-R is a particularly relevant tool in this field of research and application


Psychology of driving


According to the guidelines for driving ability and road safety in Germany, concentration, attention and the balance between speed and accuracy are the psychological skills necessary to practice driving. For some permits, such as public transit permits, candidates are expected to meet several criteria: resistance, orientation, concentration, attention and responsiveness. The d2-R test is certainly suitable for providing guidance on concentration and the relationship between speed and accuracy. In general, tests such as d2-R that require selective attention are the best predictors of the probability of being involved in a road accident. Studies have shown that groups of accident-causing subjects, on average, had lower results at d2 than control groups.