This study was designed to test the hypothesis that children with ADHD respond differently to schedules of reinforcement than children without ADHD. Nine control subjects and 11 ADHD children (all with mental retardation or borderline IQ) were tested on a cancellation task with no reinforcement and with continuous and partial reinforcement. Magnitude of reinforcement was held constant by giving equal numbers of reinforcers during continuous and partial reinforcement. Both schedules of reinforcement produced significant improvements over baseline, which demonstrates once again the positive effect of reinforcement in shaping and maintaining adaptive behavior. However, there were no appreciable differences between groups in their responses to reinforcement schedules. This challenges the validity of a common explanation of the cause of ADHD.
M. B. Dewitt, M. Aman, J. Rojahn
Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities