Evaluating vigilance deficits in ADHD: A meta-analysis of CPT performance

Cynthia L. Huang-Pollock, Sarah L. Karalunas, Helen Tam, Amy N. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


We meta-analytically review 47 between-groups studies of continuous performance test (CPT) performance in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Using a random effects model and correcting for both sampling error and measurement unreliability, we found large effect sizes (δ) for overall performance, but only small to moderate δ for performance over time in the handful of studies that reported that data. Smaller δs for performance over time are likely attributable, in part, to the extensive use of stimuli for which targets and distractors are quite easily differentiated. Artifacts accounted for a considerable proportion of variance among observed δs. Effect sizes reported in previous reviews were significantly attenuated because of the presence of uncorrected artifacts and highlight the necessity of accounting for artifactual variance in future work to determine the amount of true neurocognitive heterogeneity within ADHD. Signal detection theory and diffusion modeling analyses indicated that the ADHD-related deficits were because of decreased perceptual sensitivity (dδ) and slower drift rates (v). Results are interpreted the context of several recent models of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-371
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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