Impaired orienting in youth with Internet Addiction: Evidence from the Attention Network Task (ANT).

Psychiatry Res. 2018 Jun;264:54-57. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.11.071.

Fu J1, Xu P2, Zhao L3, Yu G4.



An important theory of attention suggests that there are three separate networks that execute discrete cognitive functions: alerting, orienting and conflict networks. Recent studies showed that there was a dysfunction of attention in Internet Addiction. In order to investigate the underlying mechanism of attention dysfunction in Internet Addiction, we recorded performance related to the Attentional Network Test (ANT) in youth.


The ANT, a behavioral assay of the functional integrity of attention networks, was used to examine the performance in Internet Addiction and healthy controls.


Performance on the ANT clearly differentiated the participants with and without Internet Addiction in terms of mean reaction times (RTs). Compared with control group, the Internet Addiction group detected targets more slowly and this effect was evident only for spatial cue condition. The Internet Addiction group demonstrated deficits in the orienting network in terms of slower RT. There was no demonstration of a deficit in both the alerting and conflict network in Internet Addiction on this task.


The youth with Internet Addiction demonstrated deficits in the orienting network but normal functioning of the alerting and conflict attention networks.

KEYWORDS: Attention Network Task; Internet addiction; Orientating; Response time

PMID: 29626832

DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.11.071