Sydney Zentall has been examining the conditions that occasion differences between students with ADHD and comparison populations. Most of her empirical work is derived from a theory first published in 1975 (i.e., the optimal stimulation theory). She proposed that the purpose of the active/impulsive behavior demonstrated by students with ADHD was to increase stimulation (arousal). Professor Zentall and her research teams of students and colleagues have also examined the responses of students with ADHD to added stimulation in social tasks and across a number of academic areas (e.g., math, spelling, language), and documented that novelty added to relevant parts of tasks can improve performance to levels higher than that of matched average peers.
Fugate, C.M., Zentall, S.S., & Gentry, M. (in press). Working memory and creativity in gifted students with and without characteristics of ADHD: Lifting the mask. Gifted Child Quarterly.
Zentall, S.S., Tom-Wright, K., & Lee, J. (2013). Psychostimulant and sensory stimulation interventions that targetthe reading and math deficits of students with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders. doi: 10.1177/1087054711430332
Zentall, S.S., & Lee, J. (2012). A reading motivation intervention with differential outcomes for students at-risk for reading disabilities, ADHD, and typical comparisons: “Clever is and clever does”. Learning Disability Quarterly, 35, 248-259. doi: 10.1177/0731948712438556
Lee, J., & Zentall, S.S. (2012). Reading motivational differences among groups: Reading disability (RD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), RD+ADHD, and typical comparison. Learning and Individual Differences. DOI: 10.1016/j.lindif.2012.05.010
Beike, S.M., & Zentall, S.S. (2012). ‘The snake raised its head’:Content novelty alters the reading performance of students at-risk for reading disabilities and ADHD. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 529-540. doi: 10.1037/a0027216
Zentall, S. S., & Beike, S. M. (2012). Achievement and social goals of younger and older elementary students: Response to academic and social failure. Learning Disability Quarterly, 35, 39-53. doi: 10.1177/0731948711429009
Kercood, S., Zentall, S.S., Vinh, M., & Tom-Wright, K. (2012). Attentional cuing in math word problems for girls at-risk for ADHD and their peers in genral education settings. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37, 106-112.
Kuester, D.A., & Zentall, S. S. (2011). Social interaction rules in cooperative learning groups for students at-risk for ADHD. Journal of Experimental Education, 80, 69-95.
Kang, H., & Zentall, S.S. (2011). Computer-generated geometry instruction: A preliminary study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59, 783-797.
Zentall, S. S., Kuester, D.A., Craig, B.A. (2011). Social behavior in cooperative groups: Students at-risk for ADHD and their peers. Journal of Educational Research, 104, 28-41.
Grskovic, J.A., & Zentall, S.S. (2010). Understanding ADHD in girls: Identification and social characteristics. International Journal of Special Education, 25, 171-184.
Zentall, S. S., & Javorsky, J. (2007). Professional development for teachers of students with ADHD and characteristics of ADHD. Behavioral Disorders , 32, 78-93.
Bennett, D. E., Zentall , S. S., Giorgetti-Borucki , K., & French, B. F. (2006). The effects of computer-administered choice on students with and without characteristics of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Behavioral Disorders, 31, 189-203
J. A., Hall, A. M., Montgomery, D. J., Vargas, A. U., Zentall, S.
S., & Belfiore,
P. J. (2004). Reducing time-out assignments for students with emotional/behavioral
disorders in a self-contained classroom: Class-wide implications.
Journal of Behavioral Education, 13, 25-36.
Stevens, L., Zhang, W., Peck, L., Kuczek, T., Grevstad,
N., Mahon, A., Zentall, S.S., Arnold, L. E., and J.
R. Burgess (2003) Polyunsaturated
fatty acid supplementation in children with inattention,
hyperactivity and other disruptive behaviors. Lipids,
Vargas, A. U., Zentall,
S. S., & Wilbur, J. D. (2002). Responses to art attention-training
by English and bilingual Spanish-speaking students with and without
ADHD. Studies in Art Education, 43, 158-174.
D. L., & Zentall, S. S. (2002). The effects of visual stimulation
on the mathematics performance of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity
disorder. Behavior Disorders, 27, 272-288.
S. S., Cassady, J. C., & Javorsky, J. (2001). Social comprehension
of children with hyperactivity. Journal of Attention Disorders,
Zentall, S. S., Moon, S., Hall,
A.M., & Grskovic, J. (2001). Learning and motivational characteristics
of boys with giftedness and/or attention deficit/hyperactivity
disorder. Exceptional Children, 67, 499-519.
S., Zentall, S. S., Grskovic, J., Hall, A.M., & Stormont, M. (2001). Emotional and social characteristics of boys with AD/HD and giftedness: A comparative case study. Journal for the Education
of the Gifted, 24, 207-247.
A. M., & Zentall, S. S. (2000). The effects of learning station on
the completion and accuracy of math homework for middle school students.
Journal of Behavioral Education, 10, 123-137.
Javorsky, J. M., Kline, C. E., & Zentall, S. S. (2000). Field-based
research practices: Bridging the gap between university and classroom.
The Journal of Special Education Leadership, 13, 27-37.
M., Zentall, S. S., Beyda, S., Javorsky, T., & Belfiore,
P. (2000). Playground contexts for aggression for preschoolers
with hyperactivity. Journal of Behavioral
Education, 10, 37-48.
S., Grskovic, J., Javorsky, J., & Hall, A. M. (2000). Effects of
noninformational color on reading test performance of students with
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Diagnostique, 25, 129-146.
M., & Zentall, S. S. (1999). Assessment of setting in the behavioral
ratings of preschoolers with and without high levels of activity. Psychology
in the Schools, 36, 109-115.
S. S., Hall, A. M., & Lee, D. L. (1998). Attentional focus of students
with hyperactivity during a word-search task. Journal of Abnormal
Child Psychology, 26, 335-343.
Zentall, S. S., & Javorsky, J. (1997). Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder research-to-practice through distance education. Teacher
Education and Special Education, 20, 146-155.
Belfiore, P. J., Grskovic, J., Murphy,
A. M., & Zentall, S. S. (1996). The effects of antecedent
color on reading for students with learning disabilities and co-occurring
attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Journal of Learning
Disabilities, 29, 432-438.
Stormont-Spurgin, M., & Zentall,
S. S. (1996). Child-rearing practices associated with aggression
in youth with and without ADHD: An exploratory study.
International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education,
Stevens, L. J., Zentall, S. S., Deck, J. L., Abate, M. L., Lipp,
S. R., & Burgess, J. R. (1996). Omega-3 fatty acids in boys
with behavior, learning, and health problems. Physiology
and Behavior, 59, 915-920.
Zentall, S. S., & Stormont-Spurgin,
M. (1996). Educator preferences of accommodations for students
with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Teacher
Education and Special Education, 18, 115-123.
Stevens, L. J., Zentall, S. S., Deck, J. L., Abate, M. L., Watkins,
B. A., Lipp, S. R., & Burgess, J. R. (1995). Essential fatty acid
metabolism in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 62, 761-768.
A., Zentall, S. S., & Stormont- Spurgin, M. (1995). Time estimation
and planning abilities: Students with and without mild disabilities. Behavioral
Disorders, 20, 197-203.
S. S., & Javorsky, J. (1995). Functional and clinical assessment
of ADHD: Implications of DSM- IV in the schools. Journal of Psychoeducational
Assessment: ADHD Special Monograph, 22-41.
S. S., Smith, Y. N., Lee, Y. B., & Wieczorek, C. (1994). Mathematical
outcomes of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Learning
Disabilities, 27, 510-519.
Zentall, S. S., & Goetze, H. (1994). Kinder mit aufmerksamkeits-
und huperaktivitats- problemen (ADHD) neuere experimentelle befunde
und anwendungen fur den unterricht. Sonderpadagogik, 24, 82-91.
S. S. (1993). Research on the educational implications of attention
deficit hyperactivitydisorder. Exceptional Children, 60, 143-153.
Zentall, S. S., & Ferkis,
M. A. (1993). Mathematical problem-solving for youth with ADHD, with
and without learning disabilities. Learning Disability
Quarterly, 16, 6-18.
Zentall, S. S. , & Smith,
Y. N. (1993). Mathematical performance and behavior of children
with hyperactivity, with and without coexisting aggression. Behavior
Research and Therapy, 31, 701-710.
Zentall, S. S.,
Harper, G. , & Stormont-Spurgin, M. (1993). Children with hyperactivity
and their organizational abilities. Journal of Educational Research,
Zentall, S. S., & Smith, Y. N.
(1992). Assessment and validation of the learning and behavioral style
preferences of hyperactive and comparison children. Learning and
Individual Differences, 4, 25-41.
Madan-Swain, A., & Zentall, S.
S. (1990). Behavioral comparisons of liked and disliked hyperactive
children in play contexts and the behavioral accommodations by their
classmates. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58,
Zentall, S. S. (1990). Fact-retrieval
automatization and math problem solving by learning disabled, attention
disordered, and normal adolescents. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 82, 856-865.
S. S. (1989). Attentional cuing in spelling tasks for hyperactive
and comparison regular classroom children. Journal of Special Education,
Zentall, S. S. (1988). Production
deficiencies in elicited language but not in the spontaneous verbalizations
of hyperactive children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,
S. S., & Dwyer, A. M. (1988) Color effects on the impulsivity and
activity of hyperactive children. Journal of School Psychology, 27,
S. S., & Kruczek, T. (1988). The attraction of color for active attention-problem
children. Exceptional Children, 54, 357-362.
Zentall, S. S. (1986). Effects
of color stimulation on performance and activity of hyperactive
and nonhyperactive children. Journal of Educational Psychology,
Zentall, S. S., & Zentall, T.
R. (1986). Hyperactivity ratings: Statistical regression provides
an insufficient explanation of practice effects. Journal of Pediatric
Psychology, 11, 393-396.
C., & Zentall, S. S. (1986). Effects of rate, nonrelevant information,
and repetition on the listening comprehension of hyperactive children. Journal of Special Education, 20, 231-239.
S. S., & Leib, S. L. (1985). Structured tasks: Effects on activity
and performance of hyperactive and comparison children. Journal
of Educational Research, 79, 91-95.
S. S. (1985). Stimulus-control factors in search performance of hyperactive
children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 18, 480-485.
S. S., Falkenberg, S. D., & Smith, L. D. (1985). Effects of color
stimulation and information on the copying performance of attention-problem
adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 13, 501-511.
S. S. (1984). Context effects in the behavioral ratings of hyperactivity. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 12, 345-352.
S. S., & Gohs, D. E. (1984). Hyperactive and comparison children's
response to detailed vs. global cues in communication tasks. Learning
Disability Quarterly, 7, 77-87.
Zentall, S. S. (1983). Effects of
psychotropic drugs on the behavior of pre-academic children: A review.
Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 3, 29-39.
Zentall, S. S. (1983). Learning environments:
A review of physical and temporal factors. Exceptional Education
Quarterly, 4, 90-115.
Zentall, S. S., Gohs, D. E. , & Culatta, B. (1983). Language
and activity of hyperactive and comparison children during listening
tasks. Exceptional Children, 50, 255-266.
Zentall, S. S., & Zentall, T. R.
(1983). Optimal stimulation: A model of disordered activity and performance
in normal and deviant children. Psychological Bulletin, 94,
Zentall, S. S. (1980). Behavioral comparisons
of hyperactive and control children in natural settings. Journal
of Abnormal Child Psychology, 8, 93-109.
Zentall, S. S., & Shaw, J. H.
(1980). Effects of classroom noise on performance and activity of
second- grade hyperactive and control children. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 8, 830-840.
Zentall, S. S. (1979). Effects of environmental
stimulation on behavior as a function of type of behavior disorder.
Behavior Disorders, 5, 19-29.
S. S., & Barack, R. S. (1979). Rating scales for hyperactivity: Concurrent
validity, reliability, and decisions to label for the Conners and
Davids abbreviated scales. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,
Zentall, S. S., Zentall, T. R., & Barack, R. S. (1978). Distraction
as a function of within-task stimulation for hyperactive and normal
children. Journal of Learning Disabilities,
Zentall, S. S., Zentall, T. R., & Booth, M. E. (1978). Within-task
stimulation: Effects on activity and spelling performance in hyperactive
and normal children. Journal
of Educational Research, 71, 223- 230.
S. S. (1977). An environmental stimulation model. Exceptional Children,
Zentall, S. S., & Zentall, T. R. (1976). Amphetamine's paradoxical
effects may be predictable. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 9,
S. S., & Zentall, T. R. (1976). Activity and task performance of
hyperactive children as a function of environmental stimulation.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 44, 693-697.
Zentall, S. S. (1975). Optimal stimulation
as theoretical basis of hyperactivity. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,
(Zentall, 1975; Zentall & Zentall, 1983; chapter 3 in the Zentall, 2006 book -- ADHD and Education)
(a) math computations and math problem solving (Kang & Zentall, in press; chapter: Zentall, 2007; Bennett et al., 2006; Kercood, Zentall, & Lee, 2004; Zentall, Smith, Lee, & Wieczorek, 1994; Zentall & Ferkis, 1993; Zentall, 1990; Zentall & Shaw, 1980)
(b) reading (Zentall, Grskovic, Javorsky, & Hall, 2000; Belfiore, Grskovic, Murphy, & Zentall; 1996; Zentall, 1986; Zentall & Meyer, 1987)
(c)spelling (Zentall, 1989; Zentall, Zentall, & Booth, 1978)
(d) expressive and receptive language (Shroyer & Zentall, 1986; Zentall, 1981, 1988; Zentall, Gohs, & Culatta, 1983; Zentall & Gohs, 1984)
(e) handwriting and fine motor skills (Zentall, Falkenberg, & Smith, 1985; Zentall & Kruczek, 1988; Zentall, Zentall, & Barrack, 1978)
(f) homework performance (Hall & Zentall, 2000)
(g) art (Vargas, Zentall, & Wilbur, 2002; Zentall & Leib, 1985)
(a) social style and social comprehension (Zentall, Kuester, & Craig, 2011; Grskovic & Zentall, 2010; Zentall, Javorsky, & Cassady, 2001; Madan-Swain & Zentall, 1990; Meyer & Zentall, 1995; Stormont & Zentall, 1995; Zentall, 1980)
(b) emotional style (Moon, Zentall, Grskovic, Hall, & Stormont, 2001)
Child preferences and styles:
(a) Attention, memory, and response styles (review: Zentall, 2005; Bennett, Zentall, Giorgetti-Borucki, & French, 2004; French, Zentall, & Bennett, 2003; Grskovic, Zentall, & Stormont-Spurgin, 1995; Zentall, 1994; Zentall, 1981, 1986; 1985; Zentall & Dwyer, 1988; Zentall & Meyer, 1987; Zentall, Moon, Hall, & Grskovic, 2001).
(b) Preferences for specific learning conditions (Zentall & Smith, 1993) and the effects of specific learning settings on children (Stormont & Zentall, 1999; Stormont, Zentall, Beyda, Javorsky, & Belfiore, 2000; Zentall, Hall, & Lee, 1998; reviews: Zentall, 1983; 1985; 1995).
Adult Responses to Children with ADHD:
(a) Teaching practices and preferences(Zentall & Javorsky, 2007; Beyda, Zentall, & Ferko, 2002)
(b) Parenting styles and their effects on students’ behavior (Stormont-Spurgin & Zentall, 1996; Zentall & Stormont-Spurgin, 1995).
Back to Top
Zentall, S. S. (2013). Students with Mild Exceptionalities: Characteristics and Applications. London: Sage Publications.
Zentall, S. S. (2006). ADHD and education: Foundations, characteristics, methods, and collaboration. Upper Saddle River, N.J., Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
Zentall, S. S., & Goldstein, S. (1999). Seven Steps to Homework Success: A Family Guide for Solving Common Homework Problems. New York: Specialty Press.
Zentall, S. S. (1999). Working toward homework success (pp. 1499-151). In C. B. Jones, H. R. Searight, M. A. Urban (Eds.) Parent articles about ADHD. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
Fowler, M., Barkley, R. A., Reeve, R., & Zentall, S. (1992). CH.A.D.D. Educators Manual. Plantation, FL: CH.AD.D.
Zentall, S. S. (2007). Math performance of students with ADHD: Cognitive and behavioral contributors and interventions (pp. 219-243). In D. B. Berch & M. M. M. Mazzocco (Eds.), Why is math so hard for some children? The nature and origins of mathematical learning difficulties and disabilities. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Stein, M. T., Zentall, S., Shaywitz, B. A., & Shaywitz, S. E. (2001). A school-aged child with delayed reading skills (pp.S111-S115). Reprinted in M. T. Stein (Ed.) Journal of Developmental Pediatrics, Supplement. Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Zentall, S. S. (1985). A context for hyperactivity. In K. D. Gadow
(Ed.), Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (Vol. 4),
273-343. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Zentall, S. S. (1981). Specific learning disabilities, communications,
and language process disturbances. In R. Ochroch (Ed.), Minimal Brain
Dysfunction: A Clinical Approach. New York: Human Sciences Press.
[Most outstanding book in the Health Sciences, awarded in the
Sixth Annual Professional and Scholarly Book Awards, by the Association
of American Publishers.]
Zentall, S. S. (1980). Environmental stimulation model. Reprinted
in R. Piazza (Ed.) (1979), Motor Disorders. Guilford, CT: Special
- Reprinted in
H. Millman, C. Schaefer, & J. Cohen (Eds.) (1980). Therapies
for School Behavior Problems. Jossey-Bass.
in Readings: The Classroom Teacher and the Special Child. Special
Research Awards and Honors
- Research Excellence Award, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University
- Dean's Award for Outstanding Scholarship
Thursday, October 10, 2013
- 1985 Snodgrass Scholar Award, School of Education. Purdue University.
Back to Top