The Attention Networks Test (ANT) has been widely used to assess the three attentional networks proposed by Posner and his collaborators. Here we present a version of the ANT that uses emotionally laden words as cues to evaluate the functioning of the attention networks and their interactions. University students participated in the task and the results replicated those found in previous studies with the original version of the test. Then, those with extreme scores on a trait anxiety scale, STAI (State Trait Anxiety Inventory) were assigned to the low or the high anxiety group. The high anxiety group showed normal patterns in the functioning of the three attentional networks, but negative cues modulated the interaction between the orienting and the executive network. These participants failed to narrow the attention focus to cover the region containing the target, affecting conflict resolution in incongruent trials.

Open Access