Head and Coordination


  • Kathrin Schmitt, Dipl.-Psych.



01/2009 - 06/2011

Project KoKo

Cognitive Control in Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Children with ADHD are inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. In our Project KoKo we viewed these problems as problems of cognitive self-regulation: We analyzed children’s behavioral inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and working memory.

Between 3% and 10% of school-aged children - boys are affected more often than girls - are diagnosed with ADHD. Different theories propose that these symptoms are due to dysfunctions in cognitive self-regulation. Project KoKo analyzed basic cognitive processes in children with and without ADHD: Behavioral inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and working memory. Moreover, we investigated the effects of direct feedback and verbal self-instructions on children’s task performance. Children with and without ADHD aged between 8 and 12 completed different tasks on the computer together with a trained experimenter in a playful atmosphere.

As expected, children with ADHD were not able to switch between different tasks as well as children without ADHD. Furthermore, our preliminary results showed that they cannot compensate these problems by means of a task-relevant verbalisation. On the other hand our preliminary results indicate that children with ADHD benefit from immediate feedback about their performance. KoKo extends our knowledge about the cognitive deficits of children with ADHD. From a clinical perspective, our findings can be used as basis for the development of training programs tailored to the specific needs of ADHD children.

Selected Publications

Rauch, W. A., Gold, A., & Schmitt, K. (2012). To what extent are task-switching deficits in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder independent of impaired inhibition? ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 4, 179-187. doi: 10.1007/s12402-012-0083-5

Rauch, W. A., Gold, A., & Schmitt, K. (2012). Combining cognitive and personality measures of impulse control in the assessment of childhood Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 28, 208-215. doi: 10.1027/1015-5759/a000128

Schmitt, K., Gold, A. & Rauch, W. A. (2012). Defizitäre adaptive Emotionsregulation bei Kindern mit ADHS [Deficits in adaptive emotion regulation in children with ADHD]. Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie, 40, 95-103. doi: 10.1024/1422-4917/a000156