Performance on the Flicker Task and Conners' CPT in Children with ADHD
Type of Degreedissertation
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Flicker task performance has not been examined in children, and the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test (CCPT) has received little empirical scrutiny related to ADHD compared to CPTs at large. Thus, the present study compared the discriminative utility of Rensink and colleagues’ (1997) flicker task and the CCPT to differentiate performance in children with and without ADHD. Flicker task and CCPT performance were compared between an ADHD (n = 33) and control (n = 28) group. Results replicate previous flicker task findings from Rensink et al. (1997) and Cohen and Shapiro (2007), demonstrating the robust nature of change blindness, via the flicker task, across developmental stages. Surprisingly, compared to controls, children with ADHD demonstrated faster reaction time with less variability in detecting the most difficult types of changes, and a hypothesis is offered to account for this unexpected finding. However, results indicate that the flicker task does not demonstrate better discriminative utility compared to the CCPT. Instead, the flicker task and CCPT provide similarly weak discriminative utility, consistent with the CPT literature at large. Significant correlations with dependent measures of the two tasks were frequently common to ADHD rating scale indices of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, indicating a lack of symptom domain specificity of CPT measures. Recommendations are provided regarding the future study of CPTs as valid measures of ADHD performance and the potential utility of the flicker task.