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Response Inhibition in Children with ADHD Essay example

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Gray (1982, as cited in Pliszka, S.R., Hatch, J.P, Borchederding, S.H., & Rogeness, G.A., 1993) proposed that human beings have a behavioral inhibition system (BIS) whose function is to analyze new stimuli or process old stimuli that have been associated with punishments in the past. According to Gray the BIS controls behavioral inhibition, which causes the organism to avoid the new stimuli or will stop the organism from performing behavior that has caused there to be past punishments. On the opposite end of the spectrum exists the behavioral activation system (BAS), which processes stimuli related to reward. Quay (1988, as cited in Pliszka et al., 1993) expanded on Gray's theory to develop his own theory of childhood emotional and behavioral disorders. He argued that in some populations there might exist differences in the BIS and BAS meaning that individuals with high levels of activity in the BIS would be more sensitive to signals of punishment, while individuals with high levels of BAS activity would show less avoidance to punishment causing behaviors. Quay argued that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will show decreased activity in the BIS, leading to a lack of behavioral inhibition.
Pliszka et al. (1993) attempted to test Quay's theory empirically by investigating whether children with ADHD were less responsive at a physiological level to signals related to punishment than normal children in a classical conditioning experiment. Based on Quay's theory, they hypothesized that children with ADHD will show less of a conditioned response (change in heart rate and skin conductance) to a conditioned stimulus that has been paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (white noise) than normal childr...


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...in go/no-go tasks, people with ADHD are more impulsive than others and the study by Pliszka et al. shows a trend that suggests that children with ADHD show less of a conditioned response (change in heart rate and skin conductance) to a conditioned stimulus that has been paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (white noise). With repeated experiments that include a greater number of participants, it may be possible to find more support for Quay's theory.



Works Cited

Gomez, R. (2003). Underlying processes in the poor response inhibition of children with Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Attention Disorders, 6, 111 – 122.
Pliszka, S.R., Hatch, J.P, Borchederding, S.H., & Rogeness, G.A. (1993). Classical conditioning in children with ADHD and Anxiety Disorders: A Test of Quay's Model. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 21, 411 – 423.


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