Advertisement

Flanker performance in female college students with ADHD: a diffusion model analysis

  • Julia Merkt
  • Henrik Singmann
  • Sebastian Bodenburg
  • Heinrich Goossens-Merkt
  • Andreas Kappes
  • Mike Wendt
  • Caterina Gawrilow
Original Article

Abstract

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by poor adaptation to environmental demands, which leads to various everyday life problems. The present study had four aims: (1) to compare performance in a flanker task in female college students with and without ADHD (N = 39) in a classical analyses of reaction time and error rate and studying the underlying processes using a diffusion model, (2) to compare the amount of focused attention, (3) to explore the adaptation of focused attention, and (4) to relate adaptation to psychological functioning. The study followed a 2-between (group: ADHD vs. control) × 2-within (flanker conflict: incongruent vs. congruent) × 2-within (conflict frequency: 20 vs. 80 %) design. Compared to a control group, the ADHD group displayed prolonged response times accompanied by fewer errors in a flanker task. Results from the diffusion model analyses revealed that the members of the ADHD group showed deficits in non-decisional processes (i.e., higher non-decision time) and leaned more toward accuracy than participants without ADHD (i.e., setting higher boundaries). The ADHD group showed a more focused attention and less adaptation to the task conditions which is related to psychological functioning. Deficient non-decisional processes and poor adaptation are in line with theories of ADHD and presumably typical for the ADHD population, although this has not been shown using a diffusion model. However, we assume that the cautious strategy of trading speed of for accuracy is specific to the subgroup of female college students with ADHD and might be interpreted as a compensation mechanism.

Keywords

ADHD Neuropsychological function Flanker task College students Females Diffusion model 

References

  1. Adler LA (2004) Clinical presentations of adult patients with ADHD. J Clin Psychiatry 65:8–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edn. American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  3. Antrop I, Roeyers H, Van Oost P, Buysse A (2000) Stimulation seeking and hyperactivity in children with ADHD. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 41:225–231PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Babinski DE, Pelham WE, Molina BSG, Waschbusch DA, Gnagy EM, Yu J, Sibley MH, Biswas A (2011) Women with childhood ADHD: comparisons by diagnostic group and gender. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 33:420–429PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Backman L, Dixon RA (1992) Psychological compensation: a theoretical framework. Psychol Bull 112:259–283PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bakeman R (2005) Recommended effect size statistics for repeated measures designs. Behav Res Methods 37:379–384PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barkley RA (1996) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder adults: comorbidities and adaptive impairments. Psychiatry Interpers Biol Process 37:393–401Google Scholar
  8. Barkley RA (1997) Behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: constructing a unifying theory of ADHD. Psychol Bull 121:65–94PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barkley RA, Fischer M (2011) Predicting impairment in major life activities and occupational functioning in hyperactive children as adults: self-reported executive function (EF) deficits versus EF tests. Dev Neuropsychol 36:137–161PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Biederman J, Faraone SV, Spencer T, Wilens T, Mick E, Lapey KA (1994) Gender differences in a sample of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatry Res 53:13–29PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Biederman J, Petty C, Fried R, Fontanella J, Doyle AE, Seidman LJ, Faraone SV (2006) Impact of psychometrically defined deficits of executive functioning in adults with ADHD. Am J Psychiatry 163:1730–1738PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Biederman J, Petty CR, Fried DoyleAE, Spencer T, Seidman LJ, Gross L, Poetzl K, Faraone SV (2007) Stability of executive function deficits into young adult years: a prospective longitudinal follow-up study of grown up males with ADHD. Acta Psychiatra Scand 116:129–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Biederman J, Petty CR, Dolan C, Hughes S, Mick E, Monuteaux MC, Faraone SV (2008) The long-term longitudinal course of oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder in ADHD boys: findings from a controlled 10-year prospective longitudinal follow-up study. Psychol Med 38:1027–1036PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Boonstra AM, Oosterlaan J, Sergeant JA, Buitelaar JK (2005) Executive functioning in adult ADHD: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Med 35:1097–1118PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Botvinick MM, Braver TS, Barch DM, Carter CS, Cohen JD (2001) Conflict monitoring and cognitive control. Psychol Rev 108:624–652PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Botvinick MM, Cohen JD, Carter CS (2004) Conflict monitoring and anterior cingulate cortex: an update. Trends Cogn Sci 8:539–546PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brickenkamp R (2002) Test d2: Aufmerksamkeits-Belastungs-Test [d2 test of attention]. Hogrefe, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  18. Bush G, Frazier JA, Rauch SL, Seidmann LJ, Whalen PJ, Jenike MA, Rosen BR, Biederman J (1999) Anterior cingulate cortex dysfunction in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder revealed by fMRI and the counting stroop. Biol Psychiatry 45:1542–1552PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Castellanos FX, Tannock R (2002) Neuroscience of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: the search for endophenotypes. Nature Rev Neurosci 3:617–628Google Scholar
  20. Castellanos FX, Sonuga-Barke EJS, Scheres A, Di Martino A, Hyde C, Walters JR (2005) Varieties of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder-related intra- individual variability. Biol Psychiatry 57:1416–1423PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Coles MGH, Gratton G, Bashore TR, Eriksen CW, Donchin E (1985) A psychophysiological investigation of the continuous flow of human information processing. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 11:529–552PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davidson MA (2008) ADHD in adults: a review of the literature. J Atten Disord 11:628–641PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Derogatis LR (1986) Manual for the symptom checklist 90 revised (SCL-90-R). Derogatis, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  24. Derogatis LR (1993) Brief symptom inventory (BSI), administration, scoring, and procedures manual, 3rd edn. Pearson Assessments, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  25. Derogatis LR, Cleary PA (1977) Confirmation of the dimensional structure of the SCL-90: a study in construct validation. J Clin Psychol 33:981–989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Donders J, Zhu J, Tulsky D (2001) Factor index score patterns in the WAIS-III standardization sample. Assess 8:193–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Edwards JR (2001) Ten difference score myths. Organ Res Methods 4:265–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Eriksen CW (1995) The flanker task and response competition: a useful tool for investigating a variety of cognitive problems. Vis Cogn 2:101–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Franke GH (2000) Brief symptom inventory von LR Derogatis (Kurzform der SCL-90-R)-Deutsche Version [Brief symptom inventory from LR Derogatis (short form of the SCL-90-R)-German version]. Beltz Test GmbH, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  30. Frazier TW, Demaree HA, Youngstrom EA (2004) Meta-analysis of intellectual and neuropsychological test performance in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuropsychol 18:543–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Frazier TW, Youngstrom EA, Glutting JJ, Watkins MW (2007) ADHD and achievement: meta-analysis of the child, adolescent, and adult literatures and a concomitant study with college students. J Learn Disabil 40:49–65PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. German Medical Association [Deutsche Ärztekammer] (2005) Stellungnahme zur “Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit-/Hyperaktivitätsstörung (ADHS)”—Langfassung—[Statement on ADHD -Long version-]. German Medical Association, Berlin, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  33. Gratton G, Coles MG, Donchin E (1992) Optimizing the use of information: strategic control of activation of responses. J Exp Psychol Gen 121:480–506PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hervey AS, Epstein JN, Curry JF (2004) Neuropsychology of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analytic review. Neuropsychol 18:485–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Huang-Pollock CL, Karalunas SL, Tam H, Moore AN (2012) Evaluating vigilance deficits in ADHD: a meta-analysis of CPT performance. J Abnorm Psychol 121:360–371PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jerome L, Segal A, Habinski L (2006) What we know about ADHD and driving risk: a literature review, meta-analysis and critique. J Can Acad Child Adolescent Psychiatry 15:105–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Johnson KA, Robertson IH, Barry E, Mulligan A, Dáibhis A, Daly M, Watchorn A, Gill M, Bellgrove MA (2008) Impaired conflict resolution and alerting in children with ADHD: evidence from the attention network task (ANT). J Child Psychol Psychiatry 49:1339–1347PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Karalunas SL, Huang-Pollock CL, Nigg JT (2012) Decomposing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-related effects in response speed and variability. Neuropsychol 26:684–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kessler RC, Adler L, Barkley R et al (2006) The prevalence and correlates of adult ADHD in the United States: results from the national comorbidity survey replication. Am J Psychiatry 163:716–723PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kolmogorov A (1941) Confidence limits for an unknown distribution function. Ann Math Stat 12:461–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Krause J, Krause H-J (2006) ADHS im Erwachsenenalter [ADHD in Adulthood, 2nd edn], 2nd edn. Schattauer, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  42. Lehle C, Hübner R (2008) On-the-fly adaptation of selectivity in the flanker task. Psychon Bull Rev 15:814–818PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lewis RF, Rennick PM (1979) Manual of the repeatable cognitive-perceptual-motor battery. Axon, Grosse Pointe ParkGoogle Scholar
  44. Lu C-H, Proctor RW (1995) The influence of irrelevant location information on performance: a review of the Simon and spatial Stroop effects. Psychon Bull Rev 2:174–207PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. MacLeod CM (1991) Half a century of research on the Stroop effect: an integrative review. Psychol Bull 109:163–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Miller GM, Chapman JP (2001) Misunderstanding analysis of covariance. J Abnorm Psychol 110:40–48PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mulder MJ, Bos D, Weusten JMH, Van Belle J, Van Dijk SC, Simen P, Durston S (2010) Basic impairments in regulating the speed-accuracy tradeoff predict symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Biol Psychiatry 68:1114–1119PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mullane JC, Corkum PV, Klein RM, McLaughlin E (2009) Interference control in children with and without ADHD: a systematic review of flanker and Simon task performance. Child Neuropsychol 15:321–342PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nelson JM, Gregg N (2012) Depression and anxiety among transitioning adolescents and college students with ADHD, dyslexia, or comorbid ADHD/Dyslexia. J Atten Disord 16:244–254PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Newark PE, Stieglitz R-D (2010) Therapy-relevant factors in adult ADHD from a cognitive behavioural perspective. Atten Def Hyp Disord 2:59–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nigg JT, Willcutt EG, Doyle AE, Sonuga-Barke EJS (2005) Causal heterogeneity in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: do we need neuropsychologically impaired subtypes? Psychiatry Interpers Biol Process 57:1224–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rapport MD, Alderson RM, Kofler MJ, Sarver DE, Bolden J, Sims V (2008) Working memory deficits in boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): the contribution of central executive and subsystem processes. J Abnorm Child Psychol 36:825–887PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ratcliff R (1978) A theory of memory retrieval. Psychol Rev 85:59–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Richards TL, Rosen LA, Ramirez CA (1999) Psychological functioning differences among college students with confirmed ADHD, ADHD by self-report only, and without ADHD. J Coll Stud Dev 40:299–304Google Scholar
  55. Sagvolden T, Johansen EB, Aase H, Russell VA (2005) A dynamic developmental theory of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) predominantly hyperactive/impulsive and combined subtypes. The Behav Brain Sci 28:397–419Google Scholar
  56. Sergeant J (2005) Modeling attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a critical appraisal of the cognitive-energetic model. Biol Psychiatry 57:1248–1255PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sergeant JA, Oosterlaan J, Van der Meere JJ (1999) Information processing and energetic factors in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In: Quay HC, Hogan A (eds) Handbook of disruptive behaviour disorders. Plenum Press, New York, pp 75–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sonuga-Barke EJS (2002) Psychological heterogeneity in AD/HD—a dual pathway model of behaviour and cognition. Behav Brain Res 130:29–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sonuga-Barke EJS, Castellanos FX (2007) Spontaneous attentional fluctuations in impaired states and pathological conditions: a neurobiological hypothesis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 31:977–986PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sonuga-Barke EJS, Wiersema JR, Van der Meere J, Roeyers H (2010) Context-dependent dynamic processes in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: differentiating common and unique effects of state regulation deficits and delay aversion. Neuropsychol Rev 20:86–102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Spaniol J, Madden DJ, Voss A (2006) A diffusion model analysis of adult age differences in episodic and semantic long-term memory retrieval. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 32:101–117PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Spaniol J, Voss A, Grady CL (2008) Aging and emotional memory: cognitive mechanisms underlying the positivity effect. Psychol Aging 23:859–872PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Spaniol J, Voss A, Bowen HJ, Grady CL (2011) Motivational incentives modulate age differences in visual perception. Psychol Aging 26:932–939PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Starns JJ, Ratcliff R (2010) The effects of aging on the speed-accuracy compromise: boundary optimality in the diffusion model. Psychol Aging 25:377–390PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tukey JW (1977) Exploratory data analysis. Addison Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  66. Van der Meere JJ (2002) The role of attention. In: Sandberg S (ed) Monographs on child and adolescent psychiatry, 2nd edn. University Press, Cambridge, pp 162–213Google Scholar
  67. Van Meel CS, Heslenfeld DJ, Oosterlaan J, Sergeant JA (2007) Adaptive control deficits in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): the role of error processing. Psychiatry Res 151:211–220PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. von Aster M, Neubauer A, Horn R (2006) Wechsler-Intelligenztest für Erwachsene: Übersetzung und Adaptation der WAIS-III von David Wechsler [Wechsler intelligence test for adults: translation and adaptation of WAIS-III by David Wechsler]. Harcourt Test Services, Frankfurt/MGoogle Scholar
  69. Voss A, Voss J (2007) Fast-dm: a free program for efficient diffusion model analysis. Behav Res Methods 39:767–775PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Voss A, Voss J (2008) A fast numerical algorithm for the estimation of diffusion model parameters. J Math Psychol 52:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wagenmakers EJ (2009) Methodological and empirical developments for the ratcliff diffusion model of response times and accuracy. Eur J Cogn Psychol 21:641–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wendt M, Luna-Rodriguez A (2009) Conflict-frequency affects flanker interference: role of stimulus-ensemble-specific practice and flanker-response contingencies. Exp Psychol 56:206–217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wendt M, Luna-Rodriguez A, Jacobsen T (2012) Conflict-induced perceptual filtering. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 38:675–686PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Weyandt LL, DuPaul G (2008) ADHD in college students. J Atten Disord 10:9–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Weyandt LL, Rice JA, Linterman I, Mitzlaff L, Emert E (1998) Neuropsychological performance of a sample of adults with ADHD, developmental reading disorder, and controls. Dev Neuropsychol 14:643–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Willcutt EG, Doyle AE, Nigg JT, Faraone SV, Pennington BF (2005) Validity of the executive function theory of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analytic review. Biol Psychiatry 57:1336–1346PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wilson BA, Alderman N, Burgess PW, Emslie H, Evans JJ (1996) Behavioral assessment of the dysexecutive syndrome. Thames Valley Test Company, Bury St. Edmunds, SuffolkGoogle Scholar
  78. Wittchen H-U, Zaudig M, Fydrich T (1997) SKID Strukturiertes Klinisches Interview für DSM-IV Achse I und II Handanweisung [SKID: structured clinical interview for DSM-IV; Axis I and II]. Hogrefe, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  79. World Health Organization (2009) International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD-10), 10th revision. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  80. Zimmermann P, Fimm B (2006) Testbatterie zur Aufmerksamkeitsprüfung (TAP) [Testbatterie for attentional performance]. Psytest, HerzogenrathGoogle Scholar
  81. Zimmermann P, Messner C, Poser U, Sedelmeier P (1991) Ein Fragebogen erlebter Defizite der Aufmerksamkeit (FEDA) [Questionnaire of experienced deficits in attention]. Unpublished Manuscript, Universität FreiburgGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Merkt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henrik Singmann
    • 3
  • Sebastian Bodenburg
    • 4
  • Heinrich Goossens-Merkt
    • 5
  • Andreas Kappes
    • 6
  • Mike Wendt
    • 7
  • Caterina Gawrilow
    • 1
    • 2
    • 8
  1. 1.Center for Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA)FrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF)FrankfurtGermany
  3. 3.University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  4. 4.University of HamburgHamburgGermany
  5. 5.Neurological Outpatient PracticeHamburgGermany
  6. 6.University College LondonLondonUK
  7. 7.Helmut-Schmidt-University, University of the Federal Armed Forces HamburgHamburgGermany
  8. 8.Eberhard Karls UniversityTübingenGermany

Personalised recommendations