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Delta Plots in the Study of Individual Differences: New Tools Reveal Response Inhibition Deficits in AD/HD That Are Eliminated by Methylphenidate Treatment

KR Ridderinkhof, A Scheres, J Oosterlaan, and JA Sergeant

J Abnorm Psychol 1 May 2005 114(2): p. 197. http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;15869351

Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands. k.r.ridderinkhof@uva.nl.

The authors highlight the utility of distribution-analytical techniques in the study of individual differences and clinical disorders. Cognitive deficits associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) were examined by using delta-plot analyses of performance data (reaction time and accuracy) obtained through the use of a prototypical conflict task, the Eriksen flanker task. In 20 children with AD/HD (compared with matched control participants), overall performance measures indicated a marginal performance deficit. Delta-plot analyses indicated that performance deficits associated with AD/HD involve response inhibition but not automatic response activation. In a within-subjects titration study, the response inhibition deficit was eliminated by methylphenidate treatment, but these effects were highly dose specific. The beneficial effect of methylphenidate was clarified further after correcting for inter-individual variation in sensitivity to medicine dosage. ((c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved).

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