This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the Diagnostic Utility of the Flicker Task and the Continuous Performance Test in Adults with ADHD




Cohen, Andrew

Type of Degree





Continuous performance tests (CPTs) are widely used to help diagnose Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, the diagnostic utility of CPTs is generally poor. This study examined the ability of the flicker task (Rensink, O’Regan, & Clark, 1997) to serve as a more diagnostically accurate measure of ADHD than the Conners’ CPT (CCPT). Flicker task and CCPT performance was compared between an ADHD (n = 28) and control (n = 30) group. The results replicate findings from Rensink et al. (1997), providing support for using the flicker task to demonstrate the robust nature of change blindness. However, the flicker task did not demonstrate better diagnostic utility than the CCPT; both tasks showed similarly weak diagnostic utility. 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 a diagnostic measure of ADHD and the potential utility of the flicker task.