When attention is intact in adults with ADHD

Mariel Roberts, Brandon K. Ashinoff, F. Xavier Castellanos, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Is covert visuospatial attention—selective processing of information in the absence of eye movements—preserved in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Previous findings are inconclusive due to inconsistent terminology and suboptimal methodology. To settle this question, we used well-established spatial cueing protocols to investigate the perceptual effects of voluntary and involuntary attention on an orientation discrimination task for a group of adults with ADHD and their neurotypical age-matched and gender-matched controls. In both groups, voluntary attention significantly improved accuracy and decreased reaction times at the relevant location, but impaired accuracy and slowed reaction times at irrelevant locations, relative to a distributed attention condition. Likewise, involuntary attention improved accuracy and speeded responses. Critically, the magnitudes of all these orienting and reorienting attention effects were indistinguishable between groups. Thus, these counterintuitive findings indicate that spatial covert attention remains functionally intact in adults with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1423-1434
Number of pages12
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • ADHD
  • Microsaccades
  • Orienting
  • Performance fields
  • Reorienting
  • Selective attention
  • Visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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