The neural mechanisms responsible for ADHD are poorly understood. Our project’s goal is to better understand the activity of the brain in children with ADHD while they shift their attention across different senses (sight, hearing, and touch). We will do this by recording their brain waves while they play a game that uses their eyes, ears, and hands. Our hope is that this will help us characterize the neural activity associated with their deficits in regulating attention. For more information about passively recording brain waves using EEG, please visit our Information for Parents tab.
What is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is most commonly associated with inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This disorder affects about 5-10% of children and about 5% of adults (Barkley, 2015). A common misconception about ADHD is that it is an inability to pay attention, while it can be better described as a deficit in the ability to regulate attention. Our current understanding of attention is that it is composed of many different mental processes working together to control what we want to pay attention to and what we want to ignore (Barkley, 2015). ADHD could be a dysregulation of one, or multiple, of these processes. We aim to explore a specific cognitive process called selective attention, which is the ability to select which thing we want to focus on (Mueller et al. 2017). It is possible that those with ADHD have a more difficult time selecting what to attend to or switching between things they are attending to. Our project is designed to characterize the neural activity in those with ADHD while they direct their attention across multiple senses (vision, hearing, and touch).
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. (2013).
Barkley, R.A., Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment, 4th ed. xiii, 898 (The Guilford Press, 2015).
Mueller, A., Hong, D. S., Shepard, S. & Moore, T. Linking ADHD to the Neural Circuitry of Attention. Trends Cogn Sci 21, 474–488 (2017).