Asymmetrical visual-spatial attention in college students diagnosed with ADD/ADHD

Kelly E. Jones, Elizabethtown College
Catherine Craver-Lemley, Elizabethtown College
Anna M. Barrett, Education Center


OBJECTIVE: Research indicates that individuals with attention deficit disorder (ADD)/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may exhibit left-right asymmetric spatial attention, with deficient processing of stimuli in the left visual hemispace. However, there is controversy as to when this phenomenon can be observed. BACKGROUND: People with ADD/ADHD do not have obvious spatial bias when performing everyday tasks. Visual cancellation tasks have demonstrated behavioral asymmetry in ADD/ADHD, but results have not been consistent across studies. Children and older adults with ADD or ADHD have been assessed, but previous studies of college students with ADD/ADHD are not available. METHOD: We tested 24 students with ADD or ADHD and 24 control students on a verbal and nonverbal cancellation task. RESULTS: The ADD/ADHD group made significantly more left-sided omission errors than controls on a letter cancellation task. This group difference was not observed for a shape cancellation task, however. CONCLUSIONS: These results support possible left visual inattention in college students with ADD/ADHD. Studies of functional correlates of these attentional phenomena are needed. © 2008 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.