Is television the new stimulant drug?: physiological responses to video clips in participants with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

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University of Alabama Libraries

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a disorder characterized by an inability to focus attention, exert self-control, and succeed in an academic or career environment. Stimulant medications are typically used to treat AD/HD but they can have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Drawing from several communication and psychological theories on limited capacity for information processing and the self-regulation of undesirable behaviors, this dissertation examined whether fast-paced, highly aversive or appetitive video combined with glucose could improve recall in participants with and without AD/HD. 20 non-referred and 20 AD/HD participants were recruited and physiological data, self-report data, and signal detection responses were recorded and analyzed for trends in physiological responses and accuracy of recall. Results from the experiment indicate that glucose has a significant effect on recall, and figures indicate the pacing and valence attributes that are most effective for recall in AD/HD individuals. Data from this dissertation may be used as a model for the development of educational videos targeted to enriching the academic lives of AD/HD individuals. Data from the survey portion of the study is also indicative of the prevalence of medicated AD/HD in the college population.

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Communication, Psychology, Physiological psychology