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Examining the existence and moderators of the Positive Illusory Bias in boys with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Jiang, Yuanyuan


Previous studies suggest that on average, children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) possess a Positive Illusory Bias (PIB) wherein they overestimate their competence in various domains. Most of these studies have used difference scores to operationalize the PIB, where more objective measures of competence, such as parent- or teacher-reports, were subtracted from child self-reports of competence. However, the PIB associated with child ADHD may be driven by the fact that children with ADHD have significantly lower actual competence levels than typically-developing children. Therefore, it is unclear whether children with ADHD actually possess a PIB. This study investigated whether the PIB exists among boys with ADHD in the social domain by utilizing a new methodology that avoids the use of difference scores and instead equates differences in the actual performance of boys with and without ADHD, so as to allow for a clearer testing of differences in estimations between the two groups. This study also investigated the role of clarity of feedback as a moderator of the PIB. Eight- to 12-year-old boys with and without ADHD participated in controlled social interaction tasks with computerized peers. Three conditions of social feedback were employed (unclear, clear positive, and clear negative). After each social interaction task, boys rated how well they performed. Standardized difference scores using self- and other-reports were also constructed, consistent with how the PIB has been commonly measured in the past. Results showed that ADHD and non-ADHD groups did not differ in self-perceptions when actual performance was made comparable across groups, despite the fact that a significant between-group difference was found when difference scores were used. Exploratory analyses to further understand the PIB were carried out. Overall, results call into question prior PIB findings.

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