Institution: College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio 44691
ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Due to these characteristics, children with ADHD typically exhibit lower academic performance compared to neurotypical children. However, a mechanism known as spaced training has been found to increase academic performance in neurotypical children. Even with its benefits, this mechanism has yet to be studied in an ADHD population. Spaced training involves studying over short periods for multiple days rather than multiple hours in one day. Using a rat model of ADHD, known as the SHR strain, the goal of the present study was to assess how spacing training from 90-trials a day to 45-trials a day in the 5-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task (5CSRTT) would improve performance abilities. The 5CSRTT is an attention and reward-based task for rodents. It was found that spacing was beneficial during earlier levels of 5CSRTT training that required less focused attention. Furthermore, in the earliest levels of training, it took only four averaged days to reach optimal performance in some of the spaced rats. In addition, during the earliest level of training, males in the spaced group benefited more than females, closing the previously reported sex gap that found female SHRs performed better than male SHRs in the 5CSRTT. Due to the hyperexploratory nature of the SHR, spaced training in 5CSRTT did not impact hyperactivity in the open field but did validate the hyperactive nature of this strain. These findings imply that by simply spacing out training, the SHRs demonstrate a significant improvement in some training levels of the 5CSRTT. Future studies should assess the effect of spacing on academic work and attentiveness training in children with ADHD.
Keywords: ADHD; Massed Training; Open Field; Spaced Learning; Attention; Neurodevelopment