Temporal perception and delay aversion: A videogame screening tool for the early detection of ADHD

Andrés Hugo Méndez Oehninger, Ana Martín, Ana Cristina Pires, Alejandro Vázquez, Alejandro Maiche, Fernando González, Alejandra Carboni


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral syndrome where inattention and/or hyperactivity impair social, academic or occupational function. Cognitive impairments in temporal abilities and delay aversion have been related to ADHD. The aim of this study is to design a game-like software that assesses temporal perception for the early detection of ADHD. Method: Two groups of 7 to 10 children (17 with ADHD and 17 control children) were compared on their performance on four game-like software based on Delay Aversion, Anticipation, Synchronization Tapping and Time reproduction experimental tasks. Results: All games detected significant differences between groups in accuracy or variability. The Discriminant function correctly classified 82.4% of the cases. Conclusions: Although the conversion of experimental tasks into game-like software implies a compromise between experimental rigour and screening efficiency, the use of videogames to measure cognitive processes is a potential tool for preventive healthcare.

Key Words:ADHD; Temporal processing; Screening; Computer games


Procesamiento temporal y aversión a la espera: el uso de videojuegos como herramienta de tamizaje para la detección temprana de TDAH. El trastorno por déficit atencional e hiperactividad (TDAH) está caracterizado por un patrón comportamental de inatención y/o hiperactividad que afecta el desempeño social, académico y laboral de las personas. Varios estudios han reportado alteraciones cognitivas en el TDAH, vinculadas al procesamiento temporal y a la aversión a la postergación. El objetivo de este trabajo fue diseñar una herramienta de tamizaje computarizada basada en tareas experimentales de procesamiento temporal y aversión a la espera para la detección temprana del TDAH.Método: Dos grupos de niños con edades entre 7 y 10 años (17 con TDAH y 17 controles), fueron evaluados en su desempeño en cuatro juegos computarizados basados en cuatro diferentes paradigmas experimentales: Aversión a la Postergación, Anticipación, Sincronización y Reproducción Temporal. Resultados: Todos los juegos mostraron diferencias significativas en cuanto a precisión o variabilidad para alguna de las condiciones. El análisis discriminante clasificó correctamente 82,4% de los casos. Conclusión: A pesar del compromiso que existe entre la rigurosidad de una tarea experimental y su conversión a un formato lúdico computarizado, el uso de videojuegos para medir procesos cognitivos es una potencial herramienta en el campo de la salud preventiva.

Palabras claves: TDAH; Procesamiento temporal; Tamizaje; Juegos de video

Procesamiento temporal y aversión a la espera: el uso de videojuegos como herramienta de tamizaje para la detección temprana de TDAH

Palabras clave

ADHD; Temporal processing; Screening; Computer games

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