Visual Attention to and Comprehension of Television in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disordered and Normal Boys


This study examined the effects of distracters on the television viewing of diagnosed ADHD (n= 19) and normal (n= 20) boys who ranged in age from 6 to 12 years. Subjects were videotaped watching four 7-min segments of “3–2–1 Contact,” once in the presence and once in the absence of highly appealing toys. The results indicated that, while in the presence of toys, ADHD boys spent one-half as much time as control boys attending to the television. However, when toys were absent, there were no significant differences in visual attention between ADHD and normal boys. The effect of the toy manipulation was most dramatic with younger children of both groups. Recall of didactic content by ADHD boys and normal subjects did not differ significantly, even when the attention of ADHD boys was reduced. These findings suggest that ADHD children, like their normal counterparts, are active and strategic viewers of television.

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This article was made available online June 28, 2008.

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