Researchers at the University of Central Florida have found that people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will fidget more when given cognitively demanding tasks. They came to this conclusion after students with ADHD sat in front of a screen playing a pod-racing scene from Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which students watched with simple body movement, and a math instructional video that made the students spin the chair, tap their feet, and fidget.
This may not seem surprising. After all, aren’t kids busy with a science fiction movie and bored with a math lesson? not like that, [ Mark Rapport, director of the Children’s Learning Clinic at the University of Central Florida] She said.
“This is just using the finding to explain why,” he said. “We’ve shown that what really happens is that it depends on the cognitive requirements of the task. With an action movie, there’s no thinking — you just watch it, using your senses. You don’t have to hold anything in your mind and analyze it. With the math video, they use their working memory, in this case Movement helps them be more focused.”
Conclusion: The researchers said that parents and teachers of children with ADHD should avoid labeling them as unmotivated lazy when they are working on tasks that require working memory and cognitive processing.