Improving antisaccade performance in adolescents with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

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The goal of the study was to examine the effects of task manipulations on antisaccade accuracy and response times (RTs) of adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), age-matched controls, 10-year-olds and young adults. Order effects were tested by administering the task at the beginning and end of the session. Other manipulations involved a visual landmark to reduce demands on working memory and internal generation of saccades; spatially specific and non-specific cues at three intervals; and central engagement of attention through perceptual and cognitive means at three intervals. As expected, adolescents with ADHD were impaired relative to age-matched controls in terms of accuracy and saccadic RT on the first administration of the task. Although their accuracy improved with most of the manipulations, it did not improve disproportionately compared to age-matched controls. Nevertheless, with most of the manipulations, they could achieve the same level of accuracy as unaided controls on the first administration of the task. In contrast, the saccadic RTs of the ADHD group came close to normal under several conditions, indicating that elevated antisaccade RTs in this disorder may be related to attentional factors. The ADHD group made more premature saccades and fewer corrective saccades than both the age-matched and younger groups, suggesting difficulties with impulsivity and goal neglect. The findings suggest that cognitive scaffolds can ameliorate at least some of the inhibition deficits in adolescents with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-341
Number of pages18
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Anita Fuglestad and Clay Collins helped with task design and testing. Cacy Miranda, M.A., Bonnie Houg, M.A., and Kathryn McGraw-Schuchman, M.A., L.P., helped with diagnostic assessments. I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their many valuable suggestions, and Tonya White, M.D., and Dante Cicchetti, Ph.D. for their comments on the manuscript. Funding for the study was provided by a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship from the University of Minnesota, and Young Investigator (Wodecroft Investigator) Award from NARSAD.


  • Antisaccades
  • Attention
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Development
  • Inhibition


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