Impairment of executive functions in boys with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

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The main aim of the present study is to compare the efficiency of executive control processes in 24 boys with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 58 normal controls of similar age (between 8 and 11 years). Three reaction time (RT) paradigms were utilized: a dual task that requires coordination of two tasks responses, a shift task that makes it necessary to disengage attention from one task and engage into another one, and a stimulus-response spatial compatibility task that requires participants to inhibit a prepotent response. Another purpose of the study is to examine whether Barkley's (1997) executive dysfunction or Sergeant et al.'s (1999) resource allocation/arousal model best account for the behavioral deficits associated with ADHD. Examination of raw RT data showed significantly poorer performance in ADHD children with respect to age-matched controls on both the higher-level cognitive functions of executive control and on lower-level abilities (e.g., speed of processing) of all tasks of this study. However, using proportional transformations of raw RT data, we could demonstrate that, in addition to differences in processing speed, also executive control processes were significantly impaired in children with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalChild neuropsychology : a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Frontal Lobe
  • Humans
  • Inhibition (Psychology)
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Reaction Time

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