Auditory attention in hyperactive children: Effects of stimulant medication on dichotic listening performance

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Administered dichotic digit tasks requiring free report and selective listening, respectively, to 20 6–16 yr old hyperactive children. Ss received methylphenidate before 2 experimental sessions and a placebo before 2 control sessions. The stimulant did not improve free-report performance significantly; rather it facilitated or impaired performance, depending on how it affected the order in which stimuli were reported. Similarly, medication had no effect on overall selective-listening performance, but it increased the difficulty of switching attention from one ear to the other. Results demonstrate that stimulants may act to maintain selective attention and to inhibit channel switching. Listening asymmetry, that is, right-ear superiority, was influenced by task variables but not by stimulant medication. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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