Habituation and ADHD

Chapter 3 discusses elicited behaviors and classical conditioning. Under "simple mechanisms of learning" they talk about habituation and sensitization. Habituation is defined as a decrease in the strength of an elicited behavior following repeated presentations of the eliciting stimulus. The example provided was how most people can block out the sound of low-intensity noises such as clocks ticking or distant noise in traffic. While reading this I immediately thought of how habituation must be difficult for people with ADHD and decided to look into the comparison of the two in more depth.
While looking up a few things, I found a study on children with ADHD and a possible impairment in habituation. The objective was "to investigate whether children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder show impaired habituation to peripheral stimuli." the study was proven true in their conclusion stating their results showed children with ADHD have impaired visual habituation and contributes to off-task behaviors in children with ADHD.



  1. Your post explains a very interesting concept. It makes sense that children with ADHD would have impaired visual habituation. This must make it very difficult for these children to concentrate in a classroom setting.

  2. The study you attached in your post was very interesting to read. The findings provide evidence of frontal dysfunction in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and suggest that impaired habituation contributes to off-task behavior in children with the disorder. Nick has made a good point, this needs to be studied more to better assist children who suffer from ADHD in a classroom setting. Often times, these children are labeled as "hard to handle" or unteachable. Learning more about ADHD and applying that knowledge to the classroom setting would allow these children to be more comfortable and be able to take advantage of their academics.


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