A video on social media suggests a test that can allow people to confirm if they have Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on their own. The test recommends focusing eyes on a flashing dot in the middle of the screen to see if the surrounding three yellow dots disappear from the consciousness. However, the yellow dots reappear when people let their eyes wander. This video claims if people are distracted easily and unable to hold their attention for long, the yellow dots appear quickly to suggest they have ADHD. We fact-checked and found the claim to be False.
A Facebook video shows a person suggesting a test that can allow people to confirm if they have ADHD on their own. The test recommends focusing eyes on a flashing dot in the middle of the screen to see if the surrounding three yellow dots disappear from the consciousness. However, the yellow dots reappear when people let their eyes wander. This video claims if people are distracted easily and unable to hold their attention for long, the yellow dots appear quickly to suggest they have ADHD.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how the brain grows and develops with age. This condition is quite common in childhood and mostly diagnosed in childhood to last in adulthood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website claims ‘children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active’. A (2022) research paper suggests that ADHD is predominantly associated with improper functioning of the brain’s frontal lobe. ‘Therefore, patients with ADHD show disability not only in attention and focus but also in decision making and emotional regulation. Children with ADHD can have difficulty with social interactions, can be easily frustrated, and can be impulsive. They are often labeled as trouble makers’.
Does staring at a flashing blue dot make the surrounding yellow dots disappear to ensure attention disorder?
It does not seem so. No evidence suggests that the test recommended in the video confirms ADHD. The disappearance of the yellow dots might have occurred due to optical illusion.
We asked Dr. Manik Mathur, Neurologist to explain how the brain and eye coordinates while focusing on a single dot and disappearing nearby ones. To this, Dr. Mathur said, “Your eyes see what your brain wants to see. Once your brain is focused, your retinal neurons focus on the spot. And to cover most of the area on the screen, the eye behaves in such a manner.”
We received a similar response from Ophthalmologist Dr. Aftab Alam, when we asked him to explain why our eyes function in a certain way during the test as recommended on Facebook. To this Dr. Alam said, “The response to the dots is psychological. When you focus on one thing, automatically your attention disappears from the periphery.”
How is ADHD diagnosed in India?
The available evidence suggests that the diagnosis of ADHD is holistic and often begins with analysing visible symptoms. A website suggests ‘The diagnosis of ADHD requires: 1) the presence of developmentally inappropriate levels of hyperactive-impulsive and/or inattentive symptoms for at least 6 months; 2) symptoms occurring in different settings (e.g., home and school); 3) symptoms that cause impairments in living; 4) some of the symptoms and impairments first occurred in early to mid-childhood; and 4) no other disorder better explains the symptoms’.
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