Department or Program



The mechanisms underlying attention, distraction, and their role in task performance have been widely studied, often using the Attention Network Test (ANT). The results of this test consistently show that participants are faster to respond when they are alerted and slower to respond when they must ignore distractors that are incongruent with the target stimulus. Interestingly, in some variations of this task, research has shown an alerting-congruency interaction, so that participants are more easily distracted when alerted relative to when not alerted. The experiments conducted as a part of this thesis explored the mechanisms underlying this interaction and the conditions under which it occurs. These experiments examined stimulus-response associations, directional associations, attentional sets, and working memory load to explore how this interaction is produced and what factors lead to a greater congruency effect when alerted. Generally, the results of these experiments provide support for the theory that it is necessary for the stimuli in the task to have pre-existing directional associations in order to produce the alerting-congruency interaction.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Kahan, Todd

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to all on Thursday, May 15, 2025