Novel measures of response performance and inhibition in children with ADHD.


Fifteen children with ADHD aged 8 to 12 years and age and gender matched controls performed two different stopping tasks to examine response performance and inhibition and their respective moment-to-moment variability. One task was the well-established stop-signal task, while the other was a novel tracking task where the children tracked a spaceship on the screen until an alarm indicated they should stop. Although performance was discrete in the stop signal task and continuous in the tracking task, in both tasks latencies to the stop signal were significantly slowed in children with ADHD. Go performance and variability did not significantly differ between ADHD and control children in either task. Importantly, stopping latency in the novel spaceship tracking task also was more variable in children with ADHD. As stopping variability cannot be measured using the standard stop signal task, the new task offers compelling support for the heretofore untested prediction that stopping is both slowed and more variable in children with ADHD. The results support a response inhibition impairment in ADHD, whilst limiting the extent of an intra-trial variability deficit.