Using environmental distractors in the diagnosis of ADHD

Hanoch Cassuto, Anat Ben-Simon, Itai Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This study examined the effect of the incorporation of environmental distractors in computerized continuous performance test (CPT) on the ability of the test in distinguishing ADHD from non-ADHD children. It was hypothesized that children with ADHD would display more distractibility than controls while performing CPT as measured by omission errors in the presence of pure visual, pure auditory, and a combination of visual and auditory distracting stimuli. Participants were 663 children aged 7-12 years, of them 345 diagnosed with ADHD and 318 without ADHD. Results showed that ADHD children demonstrated more omission errors than their healthy peers in all CPT conditions (no distractors, pure visual or auditory distractors and combined distractors). However, ADHD and non-ADHD children differed in their reaction to distracting stimuli; while all types of distracting stimuli increased the rate of omission errors in ADHD children, only combined visual and auditory distractors increased it in non-ADHD children. Given the low ecological validity of many CPT, these findings suggest that incorporating distractors in CPT improves the ability to distinguish ADHD from non-ADHD children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - 22 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • Auditory
  • CPT
  • Diagnosis
  • Distractibility
  • Validity
  • Visual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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