Article Text

This article has a correction. Please see:

Download PDFPDF
Effects of stimulant medication on the lateralisation of line bisection judgements of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  1. Dianne M Shepparda,
  2. John L Bradshawa,
  3. Jason B Mattingleya,
  4. Paul Leeb
  1. aPsychology Department, bDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  1. Dianne Sheppard, Psychology Department, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia 3168. Telephone 0061 3 990 53956; emailDianne.Sheppard{at}


OBJECTIVES Deficits in the maintenance of attention may underlie problems in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD also show asymmetric attention deficits in traditional lateralisation and visuospatial orienting tasks, suggesting right hemispheric (and left hemispace) attentional disturbance. This study aimed to examine the lateralisation of selective attention in ADHD; specifically, the effect of a moving, random dot background, and stimulant medication in the line bisection task.

METHODS The performance of children with ADHD, on and off methylphenidate, was examined using a computerised horizontal line bisection task with moving and blank backgrounds. Twenty children with a DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD participated with 20 controls, individually matched for age, sex, grade at school, and IQ. Twelve of the 20 children with ADHD were on stimulant medication at the time of testing. Horizontal lines of varying length were presented in the centre of a computer screen, with either a blank background, or a moving, random dot field. The random dots moved either leftward or rightward across the screen at either 40 mm/s or 80 mm/s.

RESULTS The children with ADHD off medication bisected lines significantly further to the right compared with controls, who showed a small leftward error. Methylphenidate normalised the performance of the children with ADHD for the task with the moving dots.

CONCLUSIONS These results support previous evidence for a right hemispheric hypoarousal theory of attentional dysfunction, and are consistent with the emerging picture of a lateralised dysfunction of frontostriatal circuitry in ADHD.

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • lateralisation
  • stimulant medication

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


Linked Articles

  • Correction
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd