Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Dominic Valentino


To determine the effects of practice on auditory vigilance task performance, twenty-eight individuals completed five sessions of testing of auditory Continuous Performance Tests (CPTs). Two types of computerized CPTs were employed, a cognitive task using letters of the alphabet as stimuli, and a sensory task using tones as stimuli. Each participant heard either the letter or the tone task daily for five days and additionally heard the other task on the first and last day. Participants responded to targets, which were two immediately successive stimuli that were exactly the same, by pressing a button connected to the computer. Both tasks lasted for 15 minutes and were equivalent in terms of target number and placement. Data were broken down by task, day and three minute blocks within each day. Dependent measures collected by the computer were accuracy, reaction time, and number of false alarms. A second focus of this study was to further investigate the differences noted in the literature regarding differences in vigilance decrement for sensory and cognitive tasks. A third goal was to evaluate the reliability of these two CPT tasks.

The results of repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that performance as measured by reaction time, accuracy, and number of false alarms did not change significantly with practice. Additionally, vigilance and latency decrements did not significantly vary between tasks or across days. The test-retest reliability of the CPT was determined to be moderate based on correlations over days for each of the performance measures. Interpretations of these results are discussed.



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