The three attentional networks: on their independence and interactions.Brain Cogn 2004; 54(3):225-7BC
The present investigation was aimed to the study of the three attentional networks (Alerting, Orienting, and Executive Function) and their interactions. A modification of the task developed by Fan, McCandliss, Sommer, Raz, and Posner (2002) was used, in which a cost and benefit paradigm was combined with a flanker task and an alerting signal. We obtained significant interactions as predicted. The alerting network seemed to inhibit the executive function network (a larger flanker-congruency effect was found on trials where an alerting signal had been previously presented). The orienting network influenced the executive function network in a positive way (the flanker effect was smaller for cued than for uncued trials). Finally, alertness increased orienting (the cueing effect was bigger after the alerting signal). This last result, taken together with previous findings, points to an influence in the sense of a faster orienting under alertness, rather than a larger one. These results offer new insight into the functioning of the attentional system.