The physiological experience of the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT): Does the PASAT induce autonomic arousal?

Charles W. Mathias, Matthew S. Stanford, Rebecca J. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research suggests that the Paced Auditory Serial Attention Task (PASAT) alters mood states, which may induce performance changes and complicate interpretation test scores. In the current design, we examined arousal as one mechanism moderating PASAT performance. It was expected that arousal level would increase during the test, and performance on the test would be related to arousal level. Heart rate and blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) were recorded from 42 healthy adult men during rest and PASAT challenge. Heart rate and blood pressure were significantly higher and stable across the PASAT procedure, while performance scores showed a steady decrease in correct responses. No association of arousal level and performance was found. Although, PASAT induced arousal changes were not significantly related to performance among healthy adults, the observed arousal changes do raise concerns about interpretation of PASAT performance among more sensitive populations and indicate new areas of application of the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-554
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2004

Keywords

  • Arousal
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Paced Auditory Serial Attention Task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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