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Using Drift Diffusion Modeling to Understand Inattentive Behavior in Preterm and Term-Born Children

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posted on 2019-06-26, 09:08 authored by J Retzler, C Retzler, M Groom, S Johnson, L Cragg
Objective: Children born very preterm are at increased risk of inattention, but it remains unclear whether the underlying processes are the same as in their term-born peers. Drift diffusion modeling (DDM) may better characterize the cognitive processes underlying inattention than standard reaction time (RT) measures. This study used DDM to compare the processes related to inattentive behavior in preterm and term-born children. Method: Performance on a cued continuous performance task was compared between 33 children born very preterm (VP; ≤32 weeks’ gestation) and 32 term-born peers (≥37 weeks’ gestation), aged 8–11 years. Both groups included children with a wide spectrum of parent-rated inattention (above average attention to severe inattention). Performance was defined using standard measures (RT, RT variability and accuracy) and modeled using a DDM. A hierarchical regression assessed the extent to which standard or DDM measures explained variance in parent-rated inattention and whether these relationships differed between VP and term-born children. Results: There were no group differences in performance on standard or DDM measures of task performance. Parent-rated inattention correlated significantly with hit rate, RT variability, and drift rate (a DDM estimate of processing efficiency) in one or both groups. Regression analysis revealed that drift rate was the best predictor of parent-rated inattention. This relationship did not differ significantly between groups. Conclusions: Findings suggest that less efficient information processing is a common mechanism underlying inattention in both VP and term-born children. This study demonstrates the benefits of using DDM to better characterize atypical cognitive processing in clinical samples.

General Scientific Summary

Less efficient information processing during a sustained attention task explained individual differences in inattentive behavior. This was true both in 8- to 11-year-olds born very preterm and their term-born peers. Drift diffusion modeling provides a way to help us better characterize the processes that underlie task performance. This is valuable for understanding processing differences that affect clinical groups.

Funding

This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number 1230421).

History

Citation

Neuropsychology, 2020, Vol. 34, No. 1, 77–87

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF LIFE SCIENCES/School of Medicine/Department of Health Sciences

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Neuropsychology

Volume

34

Issue

1

Pagination

77-87

Publisher

American Psychological Association

issn

0894-4105

Acceptance date

2019-06-24

Copyright date

2019

Available date

2020-01-01

Notes

The file associated with this record is under embargo until publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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