UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Controlled social interaction tasks to measure self-perceptions : No evidence of positive illusions in boys with ADHD Jiang, Yuanyuan; Johnston, Charlotte


Studies have suggested that children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) possess a Positive Illusory Bias (PIB) where they have higher self-perceptions of competence than more objective measures of their competence. However, recent research calls into question the primary methodology of these studies, that is, difference scores. This study investigated the PIB in boys with ADHD within the social domain using a novel methodology that refrains from using difference scores. Eighty-one 8- to 12-year-old boys with and without ADHD completed social interaction tasks where their actual social performance was made comparable, allowing for tests of between-group differences in self-perceptions that do not rely on difference scores. In addition, to examine whether clarity of social feedback moderates the presence of the PIB, the social tasks presented unclear, clear positive, or clear negative feedback. Boys rated how well they performed in each social interaction task, and these ratings were compared between ADHD and non-ADHD groups. Compared to the non-ADHD group, boys with ADHD did not show a PIB in their ratings of performance on the social tasks. There also was no moderation of boys’ ratings by type of feedback received. In contrast, when the PIB was calculated using difference scores based on child and parent ratings of child competence, boys with ADHD showed a PIB compared to boys without ADHD. These findings call attention to the need to re-examine the phenomenon of the PIB using methodologies outside of difference scores.

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