The interference of local over global information processing in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder of the inattentive type

School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, China.
Brain & development (Impact Factor: 1.54). 08/2011; 34(4):308-17. DOI: 10.1016/j.braindev.2011.07.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A classic finding in perception of compound patterns is normal individuals cannot skip global analysis in local-oriented processing, but they can successfully resist local analysis in global-oriented processing-the so-called global interference [1]. Recently, studies examining the role of brain hemisphere activity in the Navon task have indicated that the processing of global and local information can be, respectively, attributed to the right and left hemispheres. Moreover, many neuroimaging researches have revealed that certain core symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are related to dysfunction of right hemisphere. These findings imply that global interference will be substantially less evident, and possibly even replaced by local interference in ADHD. The present study compared the performance of children with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder of the inattentive type (ADHD-I) in the processing of global and local information to examine the local interference hypothesis in ADHD. An ADHD-I group (n=15) and a paired control group (n=19) completed tasks using two versions of the Navon task, one requiring divided attention, in which no information was given to participants regarding the level at which a target would appear, and the other requiring selective attention, in which participants were instructed to attend to either the local or the global level. The results showed that children with ADHD-I exhibited local interference, regardless of which attention procedure was used. These results support the weak right hemisphere hypothesis in ADHD, and provide evidence against the deficit hypotheses for ADHD in the DSM-IV criteria [29], which postulates that inattention symptoms may manifest as a failure to provide close attention to details.

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