Clinical Utility of Eye Tracking in Assessing Distractibility in Children with Neurological Disorders or ADHD: A Cross-Sectional Study

Dirk J. J. Sweere*, Johan J. M. Pel, Marlou J. G. Kooiker, Johannes P. van Dijk, Elizabeth J. J. M. van Gemert, Petra P. M. Hurks, Sylvia Klinkenberg, R. Jeroen Vermeulen, Jos G. M. Hendriksen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study aims to investigate distractibility quantified by recording and analyzing eye movements during task-irrelevant distraction in children with and without ADHD and in children with and without neurological disorders. Gaze behavior data and press latencies of 141 participants aged 6–17 that were collected during a computerized distraction paradigm with task-irrelevant stimuli (IDistrack) were analyzed. Children using attention-regulating medication were excluded from participation. Data were analyzed for subgroups that were formed based on the presence of neurological disorders and the presence of ADHD separately. Participants with ADHD and participants with neurological disorders spent less time fixating on the target stimuli compared to their peers without ADHD (p = 0.025) or their peers without neurological disorders (p < 0.001). Participants with and without ADHD had equal press latencies (p = 0.79). Participants with neurological disorders had a greater press latency compared to their typically developing peers (p < 0.001). Target fixation duration shows a significant association with parent-reported attention problems (r = −0.39, p < 0.001). We conclude that eye tracking during a distraction task reveals potentially valid clinical information that may contribute to the assessment of dysfunctional attentional processes. Further research on the validity and reliability of this paradigm is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1369
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2022

Cite this