The behavior of children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been hypothesized to involve differential sensitivity to parameters of reward and punishment. However, support for these theories has been limited because, in part, of the methods used to investigate them. The current study examined the behavior of six ADHD children and six comparison children on a computer task designed to present different parameters of reinforcement by using concurrent reinforcement schedules. A quantitative analysis of the sensitivity to changing contingencies of reinforcement was conducted by examining the performance of the children across five experimental conditions. Results suggest that although there may have been several mediating variables, children diagnosed with ADHD may show less sensitivity to changing parameters of reinforcement rate as measured by response ratios and time allocation to two concurrently available alternatives. Implications of these results are discussed in terms of the utility of such experimental methods in the study of childhood behavior disorders.
Kollins, Scott H.; Lane, Scott D.; and Shapiro, Steven K.
"Experimental Analysis of Childhood Psychopathology: A Laboratory Matching Analysis of the Behavior of Children Diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 47
, Article 3.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol47/iss1/3