The Utility of a Continuous Performance Test Embedded in Virtual Reality in Measuring ADHD-Related Deficits

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Continuous performance tasks (CPT) are popular in the diagnostic process of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing an objective measure of attention for a disorder with otherwise subjective criteria. Aims of the study were to: (1) compare the performance of children with ADHD on a CPT embedded within a virtual reality classroom (VR-CPT) to the currently used Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA) CPT, and (2) assess how the VR environment is experienced.


Thirty-seven boys, 9 to 17 years, with (n = 20) and without ADHD (n = 17) underwent 3 CPT’s: VR-CPT, the same CPT without VR (No VR-CPT) and the TOVA. Immediately following CPT, subjects described their subjective experiences on the Short Feedback Questionnaire. Results were analyzed using analysis of variance with repeated measures.


Children with ADHD performed poorer on all CPT’s. The VR-CPT showed similar effect sizes to the TOVA. Subjective feelings of enjoyment were most positive for VR-CPT.


The VR-CPT is a sensitive and user-friendly assessment tool to aid diagnosis in ADHD.

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