College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

A Computerized Test of Self-Control Predicts Classroom Behavior

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2006

Keywords

Self-Control; Impulsivity; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; Hyperactivity; Concurrent Schedules; Computer Assessment

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

ISSN

0021-8855

Volume

39

Issue/No.

2

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

We assessed choices on a computerized test of self-control (CTSC) for a group of children with features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a group of controls. Thirty boys participated in the study. Fifteen of the children had been rated by their parents as hyperactive and inattentive, and 15 were age- and gender-matched controls in the same classroom. The children were observed in the classroom for three consecutive mornings, and data were collected on their activity levels and attention. The CTSC consisted of two tasks. In the delay condition, children chose to receive three rewards after a delay of 60 s or one reward immediately. In the task-difficulty condition, the children chose to complete a difficult math problem and receive three rewards or complete an easier problem for one reward. The children with ADHD features made more impulsive choices than their peers during both conditions, and these choices correlated with measures of their activity and attention in the classroom.

DOI

10.1901/jaba.2006.171-04