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Williams, Ryan S.; Biel, Anna Lena; Wegier, Pete; Lapp, Leann K.; Dyson, Benjamin J.; Spaniol, Julia (2016): Age differences in the Attention Network Test: Evidence from behavior and event-related potentials. In: Brain and Cognition, Vol. 102: pp. 65-79
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Abstract

The Attention Network Test (ANT) is widely used to capture group and individual differences in selective attention. Prior behavioral studies with younger and older adults have yielded mixed findings with respect to age differences in three putative attention networks (alerting, orienting, and executive control). To overcome the limitations of behavioral data, the current study combined behavioral and electrophysiological measures. Twenty-four healthy younger adults (aged 18-29 years) and 24 healthy older adults (aged 60-76 years) completed the ANT while EEG data were recorded. Behaviorally, older adults showed reduced alerting, but did not differ from younger adults in orienting or executive control. Electrophysiological components related to alerting and orienting (P1, N1, and CNV) were similar in both age groups, whereas components related to executive control (N2 and P3) showed age-related differences. Together these results suggest that comparisons of network effects between age groups using behavioral data alone may not offer a complete picture of age differences in selective attention, especially for alerting and executive control networks. (C) 2015 ELSEVIER. All rights reserved.