Giovanni Anobile, Mariaelisa Bartoli, Chiara Pfanner, Gabriele Masi, Giovanni Cioni,Francesca Tinelli

Auditory time thresholds in the range of milliseconds but not seconds are impaired in ADHD

Sci Rep 12, 1352 (2022)

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-05425-2 Download

The literature on time perception in individuals with ADHD is extensive but inconsistent, probably reflecting the use of different tasks and performances indexes. A sample of 40 children/adolescents (20 with ADHD, 20 neurotypical) was engaged in two identical psychophysical tasks measuring auditory time thresholds in the milliseconds (0.25–1 s) and seconds (0.75–3 s) ranges. Results showed a severe impairment in ADHD for milliseconds thresholds (Log10BF = 1.9). The deficit remained strong even when non-verbal IQ was regressed out and correlation with age suggests a developmental delay. In the seconds range, thresholds were indistinguishable between the two groups (Log10BF = − 0.5) and not correlated with milliseconds thresholds. Our results largely confirm previous evidence suggesting partially separate mechanisms for time perception in the ranges of milliseconds and seconds. Moreover, since the evidence suggests that time perception of milliseconds stimuli might load relatively less on cognitive control and working memory, compared to longer durations, the current results are consistent with a pure timing deficit in individuals with ADHD.