Prestimulus Inhibition of Saccades in Adults With and Without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as an Index of Temporal Expectations

Yarden Dankner, Lilach Shalev, Marisa Carrasco, Shlomit Yuval-Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Knowing when to expect important events to occur is critical for preparing context-appropriate behavior. However, anticipation is inherently complicated to assess because conventional measurements of behavior, such as accuracy and reaction time, are available only after the predicted event has occurred. Anticipatory processes, which occur prior to target onset, are typically measured only retrospectively by these methods. In this study, we utilized a novel approach for assessing temporal expectations through the dynamics of prestimulus saccades. Results showed that saccades of neurotypical participants were inhibited prior to the onset of stimuli that appeared at predictable compared with less predictable times. No such inhibition was found in most participants with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and particularly not in those who experienced difficulties in sustaining attention over time. These findings suggest that individuals with ADHD, especially those with sustained-attention deficits, have diminished ability to benefit from temporal predictability, and this could account for some of their context-inappropriate behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-850
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017



  • attention
  • developmental disorders
  • eye movements
  • time perception
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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