Brief Report: A Gaming Approach to the Assessment of Attention Networks in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typical Development

Attentional impairments are among the earliest identifiable features of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Three attention networks have been extensively studied using the attention network test (ANT), but this long and repetitive task may pose challenges for individuals with ASDs. The AttentionTrip was developed as a more engaging measure of attention network efficiency.

In 20 adults with ASDs and 20 typically developing controls, both tasks produced typical network scores (all p < .003, all Cohen’s d > 0.78). Reaction time was less variable in the AttentionTrip than the ANT, possibly reflecting improved task engagement.

Although the AttentionTrip elicited more consistent responses throughout an experimental session, anomalously low split-half reliability for its executive control network suggests that some changes may be needed.


«Motivational issues in cognitive testing can be addressed by using more engaging measures of the target processes. “Game-like” tasks for neuropsychological assessment have shown great promise (Diaz-Orueta et al. 2014; DiazOrueta et al. 2016; Schultheis et al. 2002), particularly in clinical populations, such as ADHD and Parkinson’s Disease (e.g., Diaz-Orueta et al. 2014; Serino et al. 2014).» (Mash et al., 2018, p. 3)

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