Cognitive Engagement and Story Comprehension in Typically Developing Children and Children With ADHD From Preschool Through Elementary School


The present study examined children's cognitive engagement with television as a function of the continuity of central or incidental content and whether this varied with age and clinical status. In Experiment 1, 9- to 11-year-old children's response times on a secondary task were slower the later a probe occurred in a sequence of central events, and response times predicted recall. Experiment 2 extended these results to 6- to 8-year-old children. Experiment 3 revealed that children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) failed to show the pattern consistently observed for comparison children. The results support the hypothesis that typically developing children build a representation during viewing that reflects the causal structure of the televised story but that this skill is deficient in 4- to 9-year-old children with ADHD.

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