Assessing inattention and impulsivity in children during the Go/NoGo task


Correspondence should be addressed to Laura A. Baker, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061, USA (e-mail:


Behavioural performance in the Go/NoGo task was compared with caregiver and teacher reports of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity in 1,151 children (N=557 boys; N=594 girls) age 9–10 years old. Errors of commission (NoGo errors) were significantly correlated with symptom counts of hyperactivity-impulsivity, while errors of omission (Go errors) were significantly correlated with symptom counts for inattention in both caregiver and teacher reports. Cross-correlations were also evident, however, such that errors of commission were related to inattention symptoms, and errors of omission were related to hyperactivity-impulsivity. Moreover, hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention symptoms were highly intercorrelated in both caregiver (r=.52) and teacher reports (r=.70), while errors of commission and omission were virtually uncorrelated in the Go/NoGo task (r=.06). The results highlight the difficulty in disentangling hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention in questionnaires, and suggest that these constructs may be more clearly distinguished in laboratory measures such as the Go/NoGo task.