Abstract

Attention problems are a predominant contributor to near- and far-term functional outcomes in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, most interventions focus on improving the alerting attentional network and its primary function, sustaining attention, which has failed to translate into improved learning for a majority of treated children. Comparatively less is known regarding the executive attentional network and its overarching attention control process, which governs the ability to maintain relevant information in a highly active, interference-free state, and is intrinsic to a broad range of cognitive functions including working memory and fluid intelligence. This is the first study to compare attention control abilities in children with ADHD and typically developing (TD) children using the Visual Array Task (VAT), and to simultaneously measure hemodynamic functioning (oxyHb) to elucidate its associated neural network using a movement-tolerant neuroimaging tool—functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). Eighteen children with ADHD Combined type and 17 typically developing (TD) children aged 8 to12 years were administered the VAT task while prefrontal activity was monitored using fNIRS. Results revealed that children with ADHD evinced large magnitude deficits in attention control, and that oxyHb levels in the left dlPFC were significantly greater in children with ADHD relative to TD children. These findings suggest that poor attention control abilities in children with ADHD may be related to compensatory left dlPFC activation in response to an underdeveloped and/or inefficient right dlPFC. The need to design interventions that target and strengthen attention control and its corresponding neural network are discussed based on the likelihood that attention control serves as the potential quaesitum for understanding a wide array of ADHD-related deficits.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2021

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Rapport, Mark

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Psychology

Degree Program

Psychology; Clinical Psychology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008630;DP0025361

URL

https://purls.library.ucf.edu/go/DP0025361

Language

English

Release Date

August 2026

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

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