Does the d2 Test of Attention only assess sustained attention? Evidence of working memory processes involved

Appl Neuropsychol Adult. 2022 Jan 8:1-9. doi: 10.1080/23279095.2021.2023152. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The d2 Test of Attention (d2) is widely used for assessing sustained attention and we aimed at verifying whether working memory may be a secondary construct measured by d2. 70 university students were assessed using d2 conventional paper-and-pencil and computational version. The experimental group and control group performed the task with or without target key, respectively. Continuous Performance Test (CPT) and N-back (1 and 2-back) tasks were used to measure sustained attention and working memory, respectively. Computational d2 performance was predicted by CPT (p < .05; R2 = .15) in the experimental group, and it was predicted by 2-back (p < .05; R2 = .28) in the control group. Conventional d2 performance was predicted by 2-back for both control group (p = .01; R2 = .20) and experimental group (p = .02, R2 = .17). Results suggest the involvement of working memory in d2, possibly a secondary construct assessed by this instrument.

Keywords: Attentional control; neuropsychological assessment; neuropsychology; process-purity; vigilance.