AD/HD and the capture of attention by briefly exposed delay-related cues: evidence from a conditioning paradigm
Version of Record online: 22 JAN 2004
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 45, Issue 2, pages 274–283, February 2004
How to Cite
Sonuga-Barke, E. J.S., Houwer, J. D., Ruiter, K. D., Ajzenstzen, M. and Holland, S. (2004), AD/HD and the capture of attention by briefly exposed delay-related cues: evidence from a conditioning paradigm. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45: 274–283. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00219.x
- Issue online: 22 JAN 2004
- Version of Record online: 22 JAN 2004
- Manuscript accepted 8 August 2003
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder;
- attentional bias;
- delay aversion;
- dot-probe paradigm
Background: The selective attention of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) to briefly exposed delay-related cues was examined in two experiments using a dot-probe conditioning paradigm.
Method: Colour cues were paired with negatively (i.e., imposition of delay) and positively valenced cues (i.e., escape from or avoidance of delay) during a conditioning phase. These cues were presented alongside neutral cues in a subsequent dot-probe detection phase.
Results: In experiment 1 teacher-identified children with AD/HD (N = 12), but not controls (N = 12), displayed an attentional bias towards both positively and negatively valenced cues. In experiment 2 children with a diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder (N = 15), but not controls (N = 15), displayed a bias towards delay-related cues. However, this effect was largely carried by the response to positively valenced cues.
Conclusions: These results confirm the dot-probe conditioning paradigm as a useful test of motivational influence on attention. They provide the first evidence of qualitative differences in the attentional style of children with AD/HD and give further support to those theories that highlight the motivational significance of delay in AD/HD.