By the 1950s-1970s, focus shifted away from etiology and toward the more specific behavior of hyperactivity and poor impulse control characterizing these children, reflected in labels such as “hyperkinetic impulse disorder” or “hyperactive child syndrome” (Burks, 1960; Chess, 1960).
The disorder was thought to arise from cortical overstimulation due to poor thalamic filtering of stimuli entering the brain (Knobel, Wolman, & Mason, 1959; Laufer, Denhoff, & Solomons, 1957).
Europe continued to view hyperkinesis for most of the latter half of the 20th century as a relatively rare condition of extreme overactivity often associated with mental retardation or evidence of organic brain damage.
(This course was initially adapted with permission from the chapter by R. This text was followed by that of the Scottish physician Alexander Crichton in 1798, who provided even more detailed descriptions of this sort of inattention as well as identifying a second disorder of attention thought to involve low power to focus attention (Palmer & Finger, 2001). Research was demonstrating that under conditions of continuous reward, the performances of ADHD children were often indistinguishable from normal children on various lab tasks but when reinforcement patterns shifted to partial reward or to extinction (no reward) conditions, children with ADHD showed significant declines in their performance (Douglas & Parry, 1983, 1994; Parry & Douglas, 1983). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 271-283. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 19, 13-22. It was also observed that deficits in the control of behavior by rules characterized these children (Barkley, 1989a). Humphries, T., Koltun, H., Malone, M., & Roberts, W. Teacher-identified oral language difficulties among boys with attention problems. Readers interested in more detail can pursue other sources (Accardo, Blondis, Whitman, & Stein, 2001; Barkley, 2006, 2011a; Barkley, Murphy, & Fischer, 2008). William James (1890), in his Principles of Psychology, described a normal variant of character that he called the “explosive will” that resembles the difficulties experienced by those who today are called ADHD.
The author’s theoretical model of executive functioning (Barkley, 2012) and its application to ADHD also will be presented, providing a more parsimonious accounting of the many cognitive and social deficits in the disorder which points to numerous promising directions for future research while rendering a deeper appreciation for the developmental significance and seriousness of ADHD. But, the first paper in the medical literature on disorders of attention such as ADHD is a short chapter on this topic in a medical textbook (initially published anonymously) by Melchior Adam Weikard in 1775 (Barkley & Peters, 2012).
Significant, historically, was the distinction in DSM-III between two types of ADD: those with hyperactivity and those without it. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 1065-1079.