Abnormal processing of irrelevant information in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Cameron S Carter, Penelope Krener, Marc Chaderjian, Cherise Northcutt, Virginia Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


The presence of a selective attention deficit in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was investigated by administering a trial-by-trial version of the Stroop Color-Naming Task to children, aged 9-12, with ADHD (n = 19) and age-matched normal control children (n = 19). Performance was evaluated on both interference and facilitation components of the task. On the standard version of the task, with equal numbers of color words and neutral words, children with ADHD showed increased Stroop interference (prolongation of color-naming times by color-incongruent stimuli) but normal amounts of facilitation (speeding of color naming by color-congruent stimuli). This finding suggests that children with ADHD show increased disruption of color-naming performance by taskirrelevant information, probably secondary to decreased attentional control over the interference process. In contrast to findings of studies in adults, both groups of children failed to use an attentional strategy to reduce interference when they were administered blocks of trials that varied their expectancy for color word trials. This precluded a direct test of the diminished control hypothesis. There were no significant correlations between abnormal Stroop performance and impairment on the Continuous Performance Test or the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test or measures of IQ or reading performance. The implications of these findings for our understanding of information-processing deficits in children with ADHD and of the neurobiological underpinnings of these deficits are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 31 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • Child psychiatry
  • Selective attention
  • Stroop Color-Naming Task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Abnormal processing of irrelevant information in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this