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Examining predictors of reaction times in children with ADHD and normal controls


A microanalysis of task events in a common go/no-go task was completed to examine how task events impact individual reaction times. Predictors of long reaction times were analyzed to better understand increased intra-individual variability (IIV) among children with ADHD compared with normal controls. Sixty-five children with ADHD and 65 normal controls matched on gender, ethnicity, and age completed a go/no-go task. Children across both groups were slower before and after omission errors than all other trials. They were also slower on the trial before successfully inhibiting their response to no-go trials. Children with ADHD exhibited a pronounced slowing on trials prior to omission errors and trials prior to successful inhibitions compared with the normal control group. Pre-error slowing in children with ADHD may represent the beginning stages of attentional disengagement that subsequently results in the absence of responding (i.e., errors of omission or successful inhibition). While these event-related increases in reaction time explain some of the increased IIV observed in children with ADHD, the removal of these trials did not remove the pronounced between-group differences in IIV, suggesting that additional unmeasured processes are contributing to IIV in children with ADHD. (JINS, 2010, 16, 138–147.)

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*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Jeffery N. Epstein, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, 3333 Burnet Avenue, MLC 10006, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039. E-mail:
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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
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