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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1994 Oct;22(5):517-29.

Effects of experimenter and mother presence on the attentional performance and activity of hyperactive boys.

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School of Psychology, University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.


The attentional performance, activity, and off-task behavior of hyperactive boys with and without conduct problems and normal boys were compared on a cancellation task under three conditions: when performing the task alone, with mother present, and with experimenter present. Results indicated that both the hyperactive groups achieved poorer attentional scores than normal subjects in the alone and mother present conditions, but improved in the experimenter present condition. The performance of the hyperactive boys with conduct problems was particularly affected by this condition. The activity and off-task behavior scores of both the hyperactive groups were higher than controls in all conditions, although the hyperactive boys with conduct problems decreased in off-task behavior when the experimenter was present. Attention and behavior scores were not significantly correlated. The implications of these findings for assessment of hyperactivity, and the role of noncompliance in the attentional behavior of hyperactive children, are discussed.

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