Ouch! Avoiding failure leads to missed opportunities for children with ADHD

Growing up is a challenging task full of great achievements and missteps. Sometimes it is not clear what the best course of action might be, but people around us — parents and teachers — help by giving us feedback about our behaviour. Generally, we repeat the actions that get rewarded, and try not to engage in the ones that get reproved. However, it is hard to always make the best choice.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are potentially more exposed to reproaches than typically developing children. Their difficulties with focusing, elevated activity levels and impulsive actions often get them into trouble with their parents, teachers and friends. This makes it important to find out how punishment affects the behaviour of children with ADHD. Are they more sensitive to punishment, or are they less sensitive to punishment? A team of researchers from Japan and New Zealand presented children with ADHD and typically developing children with a computer-based game that involved reward and punishment. The results of this study are published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Full story of missed opportunities for children with ADHD at Science Daily