Verbal fluency over time as a measure of automatic and controlled processing in children with ADHD

P.P.M. Hurks, J.G.M. Hendriksen, J.S.H. Vles, A.C. Kalff, F.J.M. Feron, M. Kroes, D.M.C.B. van Zeben-van der Aa, J. Steyaert, J. Jolles

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The performance of ADHD children on semantic category fluency (SCF) versus initial letter fluency (ILF) tasks was examined. For each participant, word production was recorded for each 15-s time slice on each task. Performance on both fluency tasks was compared to test the hypothesis that children with ADHD are characterized by a performance deficit on the ILF task because performance on this task is less automated than performance on the SCF. Children classified with ADHD (N = 20) were compared to children with other psychopathology (N = I IS) and healthy controls (N = 130). Results indicated that the groups could not be differentiated by the total number of words produced in 60 s in either fluency task. As hypothesized, a significant interaction of group by productivity over time by type of fluency task was found: ADHD children had more problems finding words in the first 15 s of the IFL than did children in the other two groups, and as compared with their performance on the SCF. Results were taken to indicate that children with ADHD symptoms show a delay in the development of automating skills for processing abstract verbal information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-44
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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