A neurocognitive test to assess the efficiency of the attentional networks


The Attentional Network Test (ANT) is a computer-based test to measure participants’ performance in three separate components of attention: alerting, orienting, and executive control. The ANT was first developed by Jin Fan and collaborators [1], and it is based on a widely renowned neurocognitive model of human attention: the three attentional networks model proposed by Mike Posner and collaborators [2,3].

The ANT and its variations are currently being used in numerous basic and applied research studies such as: genetics and heritability of attentional functions, development of attention in children, attentional functioning in medical, neurological and psychiatric disorders (i.e., dementia, mild cognitive impairment, mood disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, fibromyalgia, anxiety…), or driving behaviour studies, among many others. Click here to search articles citing the ANT in Google Scholar.

Further information on the original ANT can be found on Jin Fan’s website at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology. In the current website, we would like to present and provide open access to two revised versions of the test: The Attention Network Test for Interactions (ANTI) [4,5] and the Attention Network Test for Interactions and Vigilance (ANTI-V) [6,7].

The Attention Network Test for Interactions (ANTI)

The Attention Network Test for Interactions (ANTI) [4,5] is a variation of the original ANT that provides more independent measures of the phasic alertness and orienting scores. To achieve this objective, the ANTI includes an auditory warning signal (instead of a visual cue) to independently assess phasic alertness. Also, the visual cues used to evaluate attentional orienting are not predictive of the location of the forthcoming targets, and thus only exogenous orienting attention is involved. As a consequence, the main advantages of the ANTI are the following: 

(a) It allows a more independent testing of the three attentional networks.

(b) It also allows measuring the interactions between the attentional networks.

  1. (c)It usually provides more reliable scores, particularly for phasic alertness [8].

The Attention Network Test for Interactions (ANTI) can be downloaded from here.


[1] 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.

[2] Posner, M. I. (1994). Attention: The mechanism of consciousness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91(16), 7398–7402.

[3] Posner, M. I., & Petersen, S. E. (1990). The attention system of the human brain. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 13, 25–42.

[4] Callejas, A., Lupiáñez, J., & Tudela, P. (2004). The three attentional networks: On their independence and interactions. Brain and Cognition, 54, 225–227.

[5] Callejas, A., Lupiáñez, J., Funes, M.J., & Tudela, P. (2005). Modulations between Alerting, Orienting and Executive Control Networks. Experimental Brain Research, 167(1), 27-37

[6] Roca, J., Castro, C., López-Ramón, M. F., & Lupiáñez, J. (2011). Measuring vigilance while assessing the functioning of the three attentional networks: The ANTI-Vigilance task. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 298(2), 312–324.

[7] Roca, J., Fuentes, L.J., Marotta, A., López-Ramón, M.F., Castro, C., Lupiáñez, J., & Martella, D. (2012). The effects of sleep deprivation on the attentional functions and vigilance. Acta Psychologica, 140(2), 164-176.

[8] Ishigami, Y., & Klein, R. M. (2010). Repeated measurement of the components of attention using two versions of the Attention Network Test (ANT): stability, isolability, robustness, and reliability. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 190(1), 117–28.

[9] Posner, M.I. (2008). Measuring Alertness. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1129, 193–199.

The Attention Network Test for Interactions and Vigilance (ANTI-V)

The Attention Network Test for Interactions and Vigilance (ANTI-V) [6,7] is a further variation of the ANTI in which a measure of vigilance is added. This measure evaluates tonic alertness (i.e. the ability to detect infrequent, unpredictable and unexpected stimuli) and it is obtained in addition to the usual phasic alertness, orienting and executive control scores. Therefore, by providing a direct measure of vigilance, the ANTI-V will be particularly useful to:

(a) Test specific hypothesis on vigilance, in addition to the other measures of attentional functioning (phasic alertness, orienting, and executive control).

(b) Help interpreting the phasic alertness score, since similar high phasic alertness scores can be associated with either an increased efficiency using warning signals or a decreased ability to maintain tonic attention [9].

  1. (c)Control for differences in tonic alertness when comparing groups of healthy and/or patient participants, since such differences may modulate the functioning of other attentional functions [9].

The Attention Network Test for Interactions and Vigilance (ANTI-V) can be downloaded from here.