The study found that children who were less academically gifted or who had more problems with social interaction had less attentional biases than those who had a high school diploma or less.
The study, published online in Psychological Science, examined whether the effects of ADHD on attentional tasks differed according to the type of task participants were doing.
Researchers at the University of Iowa and the University at Buffalo looked at three types of attentional task: a task designed to measure executive functioning, which includes social interactions; a task to measure attentional processes, which involve learning, memory and working memory; and a task that measures processing speed, which involves visual processing and thinking.
Participants were asked to indicate how much they enjoyed doing a particular task in each category.
Participant responses were coded as positive if participants rated themselves as having high levels of executive function, compared to negative if participants indicated they had low levels of the executive function domain.
In each condition, the participants completed a version of a problem-solving task designed for adults that required them to identify what they had learned and how they used it.
The task included asking participants to identify a word, picture or phrase that they thought would be a challenge for them.
Participation was recorded over the course of the day, during which time participants could also make mistakes and learn from each other.
The results showed that adults who were more academically talented or who did more problem-focused task showed lower levels of attention bias than those with lower educational attainment, even after controlling for other factors, such as age and ethnicity.
The authors suggested that the lower level of attention biases might be due to the difficulty of making the correct decisions in the face of errors.
In a separate study, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at the effects on attention of students who were exposed to a high-performing teacher or teacher who was mentored by a professional.
They asked the students to perform a problem in a problem setting, which involved a computer screen, a set of instructions, and a reward.
Participates then rated how well they did in the task on a scale of one to five.
Researchers found that students who had experienced more teacher involvement had higher levels of interest in solving problems in the classroom, and that this was associated with a reduction in attentional symptoms, including hyperactivity and distractibility.
Researchers have also looked at how ADHD affects people who are academically skilled, as well as those who are not.
In the current study, the researchers asked participants to rate their ability to complete a problem task using a scale from one to four, with one being the worst and four being the best.
The students who scored higher on a task-based task had lower levels and scores of hyperactivity, distractibility and impulsivity than the students who did not have ADHD.
Researchers also found that those who were diagnosed with ADHD had a greater tendency to report lower levels on task performance.
The researchers say that these findings could help to better understand how ADHD develops and affects children.