I have created a PsychoPy script for the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) and a Vigilance Task. Both of the tasks are very similar. In SART, the task is to press the keyspace as fast and accurately as possible on all targets (digits 1, 2, 4–9) except for one (digit 3). In the Vigilance Task, however, the task is to withhold response on all targets but the digit 3.  In this case, it might be obvious that the Vigilance Task is a modified version of the SART (i.e., there are other tasks).

Sustained Attention

Sustained attention can be defined as the capacity to direct and focus on a task. It has been argued that carrying out more cognitively demanding goals, sequenced actions, or thoughts is crucial.

Psychomotor Vigilance Test

Vigilance, a construct related to sustained attention (according to Wikipedia, vigilance is also known as sustained concentration), can be defined as the ability to maintain focused attention over longer periods.

The experiments are free to use as anyone pleases. You need to have PsychoPy installed to run these tasks. Luckily, PsychoPy is free! For a more recent version of the experimental task: see the Psychomotor Vigilance Test in PsychoPy tutorial (with downloads). In that post, you can, as indicated, also download the task and run it freely.

Please note that I have not yet piloted the tasks more than tested the task. If you plan on using them, please do a pilot test of the tasks and let me know if there are any problems.

The script can be downloaded at my GitHub page, SART.

Note that response time data is stored in seconds. If you need to convert it to milliseconds, use your favorite software and multiply each cell by 1000 (one second is 1000ms). Do pilot the task before you use it; I have not.

For more information on SART, see Robertson et al.m (1997).


Robertson, I. H., Manly, T., Andrade, J., Baddeley, B. T., & Yiend, J. (1997). “Oops!”: performance correlates of everyday attentional failures in traumatic brain injured and normal subjects. Neuropsychologia, 35(6), 747–58. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9204482

Smilek, D., Carriere, J. S. a, & Cheyne, J. A. (2010). Failures of sustained attention in life, lab, and brain: Ecological validity of the SART. Neuropsychologia, 48(9), 2564–2570. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.05.002

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