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Psychol Sci. 2007 Sep;18(9):796-802.

Response variability in attention-deficit disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Reaction times in a mental rotation task were measured across a diverse population that sorted into two groupings based on overall variability. Although both the low- and the high-variance groups produced data that displayed the trends typical of mental rotation, the two groups' reaction time sequences had very different autocorrelation functions. Power spectra derived from the two groups' data showed the presence of distinctive noise processes with long memory. Normal levels of variance were associated with 1/f noise, whereas high-variance data had substantial traces of random walk contour. These findings provide new perspectives on cognitive assessments of attention dysfunction.

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