City Research Online

Flanker performance in female college students with ADHD: a diffusion model analysis

Merkt, J., Singmann, H., Bodenburg, S. , Goossens-Merkt, H., Kappes, A., Wendt, M. & Gawrilow, C. (2013). Flanker performance in female college students with ADHD: a diffusion model analysis. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 5(4), pp. 321-341. doi: 10.1007/s12402-013-0110-1


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by poor adaptation to environmental demands, which leads to various everyday life problems. The present study had four aims: (1) to compare performance in a flanker task in female college students with and without ADHD (N = 39) in a classical analyses of reaction time and error rate and studying the underlying processes using a diffusion model, (2) to compare the amount of focused attention, (3) to explore the adaptation of focused attention, and (4) to relate adaptation to psychological functioning. The study followed a 2-between (group: ADHD vs. control) × 2-within (flanker conflict: incongruent vs. congruent) × 2-within (conflict frequency: 20 vs. 80 %) design. Compared to a control group, the ADHD group displayed prolonged response times accompanied by fewer errors in a flanker task. Results from the diffusion model analyses revealed that the members of the ADHD group showed deficits in non-decisional processes (i.e., higher non-decision time) and leaned more toward accuracy than participants without ADHD (i.e., setting higher boundaries). The ADHD group showed a more focused attention and less adaptation to the task conditions which is related to psychological functioning. Deficient non-decisional processes and poor adaptation are in line with theories of ADHD and presumably typical for the ADHD population, although this has not been shown using a diffusion model. However, we assume that the cautious strategy of trading speed of for accuracy is specific to the subgroup of female college students with ADHD and might be interpreted as a compensation mechanism.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in 'ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders.' The final authenticated version is available online at:
Publisher Keywords: ADHD, Neuropsychological function, Flanker task, College students, Females Diffusion model.
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of 6a7af27f3425587070fb8d5a1fd2825bf1e9.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (900kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login