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Presentation modality influences behavioral measures of alerting, orienting, and executive control

By Katherine L. Roberts, A. Quentin Summerfield and Deborah A. Hall


The Attention Network Test (ANT) uses visual stimuli to separately assess the attentional skills of alerting (improved performance following a warning cue), spatial orienting (an additional benefit when the warning cue also cues target location), and executive control (impaired performance when a target stimulus contains conflicting information). This study contrasted performance on auditory and visual versions of the ANT to determine whether the measures it obtains are influenced by presentation modality. Forty healthy volunteers completed both auditory and visual tests. Reaction-time measures of executive control were of a similar magnitude and significantly correlated, suggesting that executive control might be a supramodal resource. Measures of alerting were also comparable across tasks. In contrast, spatial-orienting benefits were obtained only in the visual task. Auditory spatial cues did not improve response times to auditory targets presented at the cued location. The different spatial-orienting measures could reflect either separate orienting resources for each perceptual modality, or an interaction between a supramodal orienting resource and modality-specific perceptual processing

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1017/S1355617706060620
OAI identifier:

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