Santa Barbara Sense-of-Direction Scale

The Santa Barbara Sense of Direction scale was introduced in 2002 as a self-report measure of environmental spatial ability. It measures people’s judgments about their own environmental spatial abilities. It is important to note that it is not an objective measure of ability, although it is correlated with objective measures of performance in a number of environmental spatial cognition tasks (see Hegarty, Richardson, Montello, Lovelace & Subbiah, 2002).

The SBSOD scale can be downloaded below.

The recommended scoring procedure for the scale is to first reverse score the positively phrased items. This ensures that all items are coded such that a high number indicates more ability and a low number indicates less ability. The items that should be reverse scored are items 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 14. After reverse scoring, then sum the scores for all of the items together, and then divide the total by the number of items (15) to compute the overall score for the scale (average score across items). Using this technique, the score will be a number between 1 and 7 where the higher the score, the better the perceived sense of direction.

The SPSS syntax for this recommended scoring procedure is provided below.


Hegarty, M., Richardson, A. E., Montello, D. R., Lovelace, K., & Subbiah, I. (2002). Development of a self-report measure of environmental spatial ability. Intelligence, 30, 425-448.