Reaction time distribution analysis of neuropsychological performance in an ADHD sample

Journal Article

Differences in reaction time (RT) variability have been documented between children with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Most previous research has utilized estimates of normal distributions to examine variability. Using a nontraditional approach, the present study evaluated RT distributions on the Conners' Continuous Performance Test in children and adolescents from the Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD sample compared to a matched sample of normal controls ( n = 65 pairs). The ex-Gaussian curve was used to model RT and RT variability. Children with ADHD demonstrated faster RT associated with the normal portion of the curve and a greater proportion of abnormally slow responses associated with the exponential portion of the curve. These results contradict previous interpretation that children with ADHD have slower than normal responding and demonstrate why slower RT is found when estimates of variability assume normal Gaussian distributions. Further, results of this study suggest that the greater number of abnormally long RTs of children with ADHD reflect attentional lapses on some but not all trials. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hervey, AS; Epstein, JN; Curry, JF; Tonev, S; Arnold, LE; Conners, CK; Hinshaw, SP; Swanson, JM; Hechtman, L

Published Date

  • 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 125 - 140

PubMed ID

  • 16754533

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0929-7049

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/09297040500499081