ERIC Number: EJ1107564
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Continuous Performance Tasks: Not Just about Sustaining Attention
Roebuck, Hettie; Freigang, Claudia; Barry, Johanna G.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v59 n3 p501-510 Jun 2016
Purpose: Continuous performance tasks (CPTs) are used to measure individual differences in sustained attention. Many different stimuli have been used as response targets without consideration of their impact on task performance. Here, we compared CPT performance in typically developing adults and children to assess the role of stimulus processing on error rates and reaction times. Method: Participants completed a CPT that was based on response to infrequent targets, while monitoring and withholding responses to regular nontargets. Performance on 3 stimulus conditions was compared: visual letters (X and O), their auditory analogs, and auditory pure tones. Results: Adults showed no difference in error propensity across the 3 conditions but had slower reaction times for auditory stimuli. Children had slower overall reaction times. They responded most quickly to the visual target and most slowly to the tone target. They also made more errors in the tone condition than in either the visual or the auditory spoken CPT conditions. Conclusions: The results suggest error propensity and reaction time variations on CPTs cannot solely be interpreted as evidence of inattention. They also reflect stimulus-specific influences that must be considered when testing hypotheses about modality-specific deficits in sustained attention in populations with different developmental disorders.
Descriptors: Individual Differences, Task Analysis, Adults, Children, Role, Comparative Analysis, Cognitive Processes, Attention Control, Error Patterns, Intonation, Reaction Time, Alphabets, Visual Stimuli, Auditory Stimuli, Foreign Countries, Intelligence Tests, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Rating Scales, Statistical Analysis, Nonparametric Statistics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Conners Rating Scales; Wechsler Intelligence Scales Short Forms