An investigation of children's timing abilities as a model for understanding the nature of ADHD deficits

Timothy John Heitzman, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

Recent studies have supported a contemporary model of Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) demonstrating that children with ADHD have impaired abilities on time reproduction tasks. Little, however, is known regarding the cognitive-neuropsychological nature of children's timing abilities. In the current study, a cross-sectional design was used to investigate the nature of timing abilities of nondisabled children (6-year-olds and 10-year-olds) by comparing the directional accuracy and absolute errors in time reproduction of 3 brief intervals (i.e., 10-seconds; 36-seconds; 60-seconds) with and without interference. Duration and task-effects were noted for both groups as they underproduced intervals more as the length of the intervals increased and with the presence of interference tasks. Two kinds of age-related effects were revealed: (1) without interference, younger children generally were not as precise as older children, especially at briefer intervals as they generated more absolute error; and (2) younger children were more influenced (i.e., greater underproduction) by simultaneous information processing task interference than successive interference whereas the older group was influenced equally by the two kinds of interference. Attention ability accounted for 25% of the variance of the older group's absolute error on the 10-second interval with successive interference; however it did not account for a significant proportion of the variance in error or accuracy at any other duration-task, and it did not account for any of the variance in the timing abilities of the younger group. Furthermore, nonverbal working memory for objects and spatial location did not account for a significant proportion of the variance in timing ability for either group of children suggesting that children's timing abilities may rely on an additional nonverbal working memory system distinct from visual and verbal working memory. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Timothy John Heitzman, "An investigation of children's timing abilities as a model for understanding the nature of ADHD deficits" (2000). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI9988222.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI9988222

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