Computer Game Designed to Improve Concentration May Help ADHD Kids

the Psychiatry Advisor take:

A small study conducted in China among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) found that a computer game that is designed to exercise their concentration can improve their behavior and social interactions among other children.

The five elementary school children enrolled were fitted with a wireless headband that is synced to the software studied to monitor brainwaves as they play the game. The software adjusts the level of difficulty and scoring to target and train the children’s attention control, working memory and impulse control.

Before the study, the children’s parents were asked to rate their children’s level of hyperactivity and inattentiveness. After playing the game, the parents reported that the children’s behavior returned to a normal level and their parents and teachers reported they had fewer ADHD symptoms. And four of the five groups of parents said they saw improvements in their child's interactions with teachers and peers.

“The present study implies that the neurocognitive training can result in broader and more socially meaningful outcomes than improvement of ADHD symptoms,” the study’s lead authors Han Jiang, a PhD candidate and Stuart Johnstone, PhD, both of the University of Wollongong in Australia, said in a statement.

“Two reasons possibly explain the side effect. First, the increased attentive behavior in class and improved quality of schoolwork improved these children's social status. Second, game-driven and task-directed features of the training increased the children's confidence in doing tasks.”

Computer Game Designed to Improve Concentration May Help ADHD Kids
A computer game designed to improve attention and working memory may easy ADHD symptoms in children.

Although many children are considered inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive, children with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at a greater disadvantage, potentially due to an inability to differentiate decisions that will provide better rewards. A recent study published in SAGE Open has found that a computer game used to exercise concentration can lead to significant improvements in the behavior and social interactions among children with ADHD in China.

The research team tracked the brainwaves of five elementary school students in China using software synced with a wireless headband that adjusts the level of difficulty and scoring while targeting and training each child's attention control, working memory, and impulse-control. Parents were asked to rate their child based on problems with hyperactivity, inattention, and acceptance among peers and teachers.

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