Attentional Network Task

Study the benefit of visual and auditory cues on the speed of processing visual 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.


Callejas A, Lupiáñez J, Tudela P. The three attentional networks: on their independence and interactions. Brain Cogn. 2004;54(3):225-7.

Eriksen,B.A.,and Eriksen,C.W.(1974). Effects of noise letters upon the identification of a target letter in a non-search task. Percept.Psychophys. 16, 143–149.

Fan, J., McCandliss, B. D., Sommer, T., Raz, A., & Posner, M. I.
(2002). Testing the efficiency and independence of attentional
networks. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 14(3), 340–347.

Ishigami Y, Klein RM. Repeated Measurement of the Components of Attention of Older Adults using the Two Versions of the Attention Network Test: Stability, Isolability, Robustness, and Reliability. Front Aging Neurosci. 2011;3:17.

Posner, M. I. (1980). Orienting of Attention. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 32, 3-25.

Posner MI, Cohen Y (1984) Components of visual orienting. In:Bouma H, Bouwhuis D (eds) Attention and performance X. Erlbaum, London, pp 531-556.

Kincade, .M., Richard A.A., Astafiev, S.V., Shulman, G.L., and Corbetta, M. (2005). An Event-Related Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Voluntary and Stimulus-Driven Orienting of Attention. The Journal of Neuroscience, May 4, 25(18):4593– 4604.

Wojtowicz M, Omisade A, Fisk JD. Indices of cognitive dysfunction in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: intra-individual variability, processing speed, and attention network efficiency. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013;19(5):551-8.


Configuration Options

Alert  : none | tone | visual
Cue : none | valid | invalid
Flanker : congruent | incongruent
Cue SOA : 50 – 300 ms
Block Length : Number of repetitions of factorial design
Block Mode : Training | WarmUp | Valid
Feedback : None | Wrong | Late