By combining a ﬂanker task and a cuing task into a single paradigm, the authors assessed the effects of orienting and alerting on conﬂict resolution and explored how normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) modulate these attentional functions. Orienting failed to enhance conﬂict resolution; alerting was most beneﬁcial for trials without conﬂict, as if acting on response criterion rather than on information processing. Alerting cues were most effective in the older groups— healthy aging and AD. Conﬂict resolution was impaired only in AD. Orienting remained unchanged across groups. These ﬁndings provide evidence of different life span developmental and clinical trajectories for each attentional network.
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