Date of Degree
Jeffrey M. Halperin
Ray Johnson, Jr.
Kurt P. Schulz
The objective of this dissertation was to examine whether post-error reaction time slowing, an index of self-regulation, is impaired in individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at two separate developmental time points: preschool and adolescence. Two studies were conducted with separate cohorts. Study 1 examined post-error slowing in a sample of preschool children rated by parents, teachers, and clinicians as exhibiting high levels of ADHD symptoms. In addition to group comparisons based on symptom status, a cross-sectional examination of age-related changes in post-error slowing in typically developing preschoolers (controls) was also conducted. Study 2 compared post-error slowing in individuals diagnosed with ADHD in childhood, who were diagnostically reassessed in adolescence for persistence versus remission of the disorder, relative to a well-matched comparison group. Post-error slowing was examined as a function of both childhood and adolescent diagnostic status. The results of Study 1 indicated that, although children as young as 3 years of age exhibited post-error slowing on a computerized reaction time task, the expected increases in post-error slowing with age were not found. Further, hyperactive/inattentive preschool children exhibited reduced levels of post-error slowing relative to controls. Thus, symptomatic preschool children appeared to be impaired on this index of self-regulation. Post hoc exploratory analyses suggested some support for greater attentional difficulties in hyperactive/inattentive children who failed to exhibit post-error slowing. Study 2 did not yield any significant results. Contrary to expectations, individuals with ADHD did not exhibit reduced levels of post-error slowing whether examined as a function of either childhood (ADHD, Control) or adolescent diagnostic status (Persisters, Remitters, Controls). Findings from Study 1 are discussed in the context of developmental changes in the complex neural circuitry underlying both post-error slowing and ADHD. Further investigation of the contributions of component cognitive processes (i.e., error detection, affect/motivation, attention, self-regulation) and their neural bases is recommended. In addition, consideration of post-error slowing as a potential endophenotype may be of benefit to research regarding the genetic underpinnings of ADHD.
Berwid, Olga G., "Post-error Slowing in Preschool Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder" (2007). CUNY Academic Works.