Appraising the ANT: Psychometric and theoretical considerations of the Attention Network Test.
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OBJECTIVE: The Attention Network Test (ANT) is a tool used to assess the efficiency of the 3 attention networks-alerting, orienting, and executive control. The ANT has become popular in the neuropsychological literature since its first description in 2002, with some form of the task currently appearing in no less than 65 original research papers. Although several general reviews of the ANT exist, none provide an analysis of its psychometric properties. METHOD: Data from 15 unique studies were collected, resulting in a large sample (N = 1,129) of healthy individuals. Split-half reliability, variance structure, distribution shape, and independence of measurement of the 3 attention network scores were analyzed, considering both reaction time and accuracy as dependent variables. RESULTS: Split-half reliabilities of reaction time based attention network scores were low for alerting (rweighted = .20, CI 95%weighted [.14, .27], Spearman-Brown r = .38) and orienting (rweighted = .32, CI 95%weighted [.26, .38], Spearman-Brown r = .55), and moderate high for executive control (rweighted = .65, CI 95%weighted [.61, .71], Spearman-Brown r = .81). Analysis of the variance structure of the ANT indicated that power to find significant effects was variable across networks and dependent on the statistical analysis being used. Both analysis of variance (significant interaction observed in 100% of 15 studies) and correlational analyses (multiple-significant inter-network correlations observed) suggest that the networks measured by the ANT are not independent. CONCLUSIONS: In the collection, analysis and interpretation of any test data, psychometric properties, such as those reported here for the ANT, must be carefully considered.
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