Lee, D. L., & Zentall, S. S. (2002). The effects of visual stimulation on the mathematics performance of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder . Behavioral Disorders , 27 (3), 272–288. https://debh.exceptionalchildren.org/store/journals/behavioral-disorders-debh-research-journal

Journal Article

Lee, D. L., & Zentall, S. S. (2002). The effects of visual stimulation on the mathematics performance of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Behavioral Disorders, 27(3), 272–288. https://debh.exceptionalchildren.org/store/journals/behavioral-disorders-debh-research-journal


[no doi available]


Attention problem; Audio recording device/software (Response); Color contrast device or software; Elementary; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Math; Middle school; Reinforcement; Screen display; Specialized setting; U.S. context





In Study 1, test conditions included a low-stimulation presentation of static (without movement) black numbers on a gray computer screen and high-stimulation in which math items were presented "on a colored screen (i.e., various hues of yellow, orange, blue, red, purple, and green) with colored numbers and movement effects (i.e., slides, checkerboards, and fades) as transitions to problems" (p. 275). During the high-stimulation condition, each item response activated the display of the next item, reinforcing on-task behavior. The researchers also noted that each student used a study carrel and were presented each problem on a computer screen, and participants verbally answered each test item. In Study 2, a second computer monitor was added which displayed either "high-competing stimulation" cartoon images transitioned one to the next with visual effects of fading, sliding, and checkerboard, or "low-competing stimulation" of a solid gray screen.


A total of 17 students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from two specialized urban schools for students with behavioral disabilities in an unidentified location (U.S.) participated. Students ranged from age 8 to age 14 (approximately grade 3 through grade 8). Demographic data including race/ethnicity and ascribed gender were reported. The two studies (Study 1 and Study 2) comprising this document engaged the same sample of students, with slight differences due to attrition and scheduling. 

Dependent Variable

Simple operations mathematics tasks, employing a set of single-digit addition items, served as a "sustained-attention task" (p. 275). The number of math items completed, and the number correct, were both documented; group means were calculated. Participants' spoken item responses were recorded by videocamera, along with observed behavior—coded as "talking and noise making, ... visually off task ... torso movement ... [and] limb movement" (p. 275). In both Study 1 and Study 2, performance during the test conditions were compared, and behavioral responses tracked.