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01-10-2008 | Uitgave 7/2008

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 7/2008

ADHD and Behavioral Inhibition: A Re-examination of the Stop-signal Task

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 7/2008
R. Matt Alderson, Mark D. Rapport, Dustin E. Sarver, Michael J. Kofler


The current study investigates two recently identified threats to the construct validity of behavioral inhibition as a core deficit of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) based on the stop-signal task: calculation of mean reaction time from go-trials presented adjacent to intermittent stop-trials, and non-reporting of the stop-signal delay metric. Children with ADHD (n = 12) and typically developing (TD) children (n = 11) were administered the standard stop-signal task and three variant stop-signal conditions. These included a no-tone condition administered without the presentation of an auditory tone; an ignore-tone condition that presented a neutral (i.e., not associated with stopping) auditory tone; and a second ignore-tone condition that presented a neutral auditory tone after the tone had been previously paired with stopping. Children with ADHD exhibited significantly slower and more variable reaction times to go-stimuli, and slower stop-signal reaction times relative to TD controls. Stop-signal delay was not significantly different between groups, and both groups’ go-trial reaction times slowed following meaningful tones. Collectively, these findings corroborate recent meta-analyses and indicate that previous findings of stop-signal performance deficits in ADHD reflect slower and more variable responding to visually presented stimuli and concurrent processing of a second stimulus, rather than deficits of motor behavioral inhibition.

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