The speed of visual attention and motor-response decisions in adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
until further notice
Number of pages
SourceBiological Psychiatry, 78, 2, (2015), pp. 107-115
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
SubjectNeuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
BACKGROUND: Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) exhibit slowed reaction times (RTs) in various attention tasks. The exact origins of this slowing, however, have not been established. Potential candidates are early sensory processes mediating the deployment of focal attention, stimulus response translation processes deciding upon the appropriate motor response, and motor processes generating the response. METHODS: We combined mental chronometry (RT) measures of adult ADHD (n = 15) and healthy control (n = 15) participants with their lateralized event-related potentials during the performance of a visual search task to differentiate potential sources of slowing at separable levels of processing: the posterior contralateral negativity (PCN) was used to index focal-attentional selection times, while the lateralized readiness potentials synchronized to stimulus and response events were used to index the times taken for response selection and production, respectively. To assess the clinical relevance of event-related potentials, a correlation analysis between neural measures and subjective current and retrospective ADHD symptom ratings was performed. RESULTS: ADHD patients exhibited slower RTs than control participants, which were accompanied by prolonged PCN and lateralized readiness potentials synchronized to stimulus, but not lateralized readiness potentials synchronized to response events, latencies. Moreover, the PCN timing was positively correlated with ADHD symptom ratings. CONCLUSIONS: The behavioral RT slowing of adult ADHD patients was based on a summation of internal processing delays arising at perceptual and response selection stages; motor response production, by contrast, was not impaired. The correlation between PCN times and ADHD symptom ratings suggests that this brain signal may serve as a potential candidate for a neurocognitive endophenotype of ADHD.
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