Attentional Network Task

Background Information

The Attentional Network theory proposes three independent cognitive concepts:

  • Alerting
    Alerting involves a change in mental state as well as in
    physiological state, and prepares the organism for fast reactions.
  • Orienting
    Orienting involves selective allocation of attention to a source of signals in space.
  • Executive
    Executive attention involves conflict resolution and control over decision-making, error detection, and habitual response inhibition.


The ANT-I paradigm is addressing all three concepts by introducing baseline and treatment conditions for each attentional control system in form of an auditory alert (Posner & Peterson), a visual location cue, and conflicting flanker stimuli (Erikson & Erikson). The ANT-I is a revised version of the original ANT test. It has been optimized to avoid interaction effects between the test scores.

The scores are computed by subtracting the faster condition from the slower condition for each of the attention control systems:

Alerting: No_tone – tone (alert)
Orienting: Invalid – valid (location cue)
Executive: Incongruent – congruent (flankers)

The ANT-I became a de-facto standard for measuring different attentional sub-systems in clinical research since all three different network scores are determined within one single test.


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