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Study: Positive Reinforcement Plays Key Role in Cognitive Task Performance in ADHD Kids

A little recognition for a job well done means a lot to children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – more so than it would for typically developing kids.

That praise, or other possible reward, improves the performance of children with ADHD on certain cognitive tasks, but until a recent study led by researchers from the University at Buffalo, it wasn’t clear if that result was due to heightened motivation inspired by positive reinforcement or because those with ADHD simply had greater room for improvement at certain tasks relative to their peers without such a diagnosis.

“Our results suggest that the motivation piece is critical,” says Whitney Fosco, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. “Kids with ADHD showed more improvement because they are more motivated by the opportunity to gain rewards, not because they simply did worse from the beginning.”

 

Study: Positive Reinforcement Plays Key Role in Cognitive Task Performance in ADHD Kids

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