VIGILANCE IN HYPERACTIVE AND NORMAL CHILDREN ON A SELF-PACED OPERANT TASK

Authors


  • † This project was supported in part by the Ruth Schwartz Foundation Grant (821–32) to Dr. M. M. Konstantareas, and is based on the B.A. thesis of the first author under the supervision of the second. The authors would like to acknowledge the generous co-operation of Mr, Target, principal, and the teachers of Lord Landsdowne Public School. Thanks are also due to Dr. Leon Sloman, Miss Terryl Portigal and Mr. Don Hunter of the Child and Family Studies centre for their co-operation. Special thanks to Miss Soula Homatidis for her contribution.

*Requests for reprints should be addressed to: Dr. Mary Konstantareas, Child and Family Studies Centre, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, 250 College St., Toronto. Ontario, Canada M5T IR8.

SUMMARY

A self-paced vigilance task adapted from operant work was employed to study visual attention in hyperactive and normal children. The task distinguishes between two components of vigilance, observing responses and signal detention responses which are further divided into hits and false alarms. All subjects is were exposed to the same number of signal presentations under a low (VI 53) density and a high (VI 15) density schedule. Hyperactive children emitted a lower percentage of hits and a greater percentage of false alarms than normals. Hyperactive children showed observing response rater than normals. The educational implications of these findings are considered.

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