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

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Objective: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.Methods: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.Results: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.Conclusion:The VR-CPT is a sensitive and user-friendly assessment tool to aid diagnosis in ADHD.

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