As psychological instruments are converted for administration on computers, differences in luminance and contrast of these displays may affect performance. Specifically, high-luminance assessments may mask age-group differences that are apparent under lower luminance conditions. We examined the effects of luminance and contrast on object detection using computerized and naturalistic assessments. Younger and older adults displayed more differences in performance across differing contrast levels in conditions that were matched for luminance, despite the conditions appearing perceptually different. These findings indicate that computerized assessments should be created with luminance levels that are similar to those of the tasks they purport to simulate in order to enhance their validity.