ADHD and Reward/Error Processing: A Neurophysiological Study

1. Introduction

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that is characterized by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Individuals with ADHD often have difficulty sustaining attention, completing tasks, and following through on instructions. They may also be impulsive and unable to control their impulses. In addition, individuals with ADHD may also be highly distractible and have difficulty sustaining attention on tasks or activities.

A great deal of research has been conducted on the neurophysiological basis of ADHD. Brain imaging studies have shown that individuals with ADHD have abnormalities in several brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex, striatum, and cerebellum (Barkley, 2006). These abnormalities are thought to contribute to the symptoms of ADHD.

In addition to the research on the neurophysiological basis of ADHD, there has also been research on the role of reward in ADHD. Reward processing refers to the brain mechanisms that are involved in the experience of pleasure or satisfaction. Individuals with ADHD are thought to have abnormalities in reward processing (Lee et al., 2006). For example, one study found that individuals with ADHD had reduced activity in the striatum in response to rewards (Lee et al., 2006).

Error processing refers to the brain mechanisms that are involved in detecting and responding to errors. Errors are important for learning and for making adjustments in behavior. Individuals with ADHD are thought to have abnormalities in error processing (Cubillo et al., 2010). For example, one study found that individuals with ADHD had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex in response to errors (Cubillo et al., 2010).

The current study was mainly concerned with looking into the neurophysiological and to some extent the behavioral measures utilized in self regulation of both rewarded and no-rewarded tasks as well as post error slowing and post-Too slow speeding tasks among a group of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a group of typically developing children. The participants were asked to complete a computer task while their brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). The results showed that the children with ADHD had different patterns of brain activity during the tasks than the typically developing children. Specifically, the children with ADHD had less activity in the prefrontal cortex during the rewarded tasks and more activity in the prefrontal cortex during the no-reward tasks. In addition, the children with ADHD had less activity in the striatum during both the rewarded and no-reward tasks. These findings suggest that abnormalities in reward processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity in ADHD. In addition, these findings suggest that abnormalities in error processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and problems with executive function in ADHD.

2. ADHD and Reward Processing

Reward processing is thought to be impaired in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Several studies have found reduced activity in brain regions involved in reward processing, including the striatum, in response to rewards in individuals with ADHD (Lee et al., 2006; Slusher et al., 2013; Becker et al., 2014). For example, one study found that adolescents with ADHD had reduced activity in the striatum during a task that involved receiving rewards (Lee et al., 2006). Another study found that adults with ADHD had reduced activity in the striatum during a task that involved receiving monetary rewards (Slusher et al., 2013). A third study found that children with ADHD had reduced activity in the striatum during a task that involved receiving rewards for performance on a cognitive task (Becker et al., 2014).

In addition to the studies that have found reduced activity in the striatum, there have also been studies that have found reduced activity in other brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex, in response to rewards in individuals with ADHD. For example, one study found that adolescents with ADHD had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex during a task that involved receiving rewards (Lee et al., 2006). Another study found that children with ADHD had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex during a task that involved receiving rewards for performance on a cognitive task (Becker et al., 2014).

The findings from these studies suggest that abnormalities in reward processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity in ADHD. Specifically, the findings from these studies suggest that abnormalities in the striatum may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity. In addition, the findings from these studies suggest that abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex may contribute to problems with executive function in ADHD.

3. ADHD and Error Processing

Error processing is thought to be impaired in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Several studies have found reduced activity in brain regions involved in error processing, including the prefrontal cortex, in response to errors in individuals with ADHD (Cubillo et al., 2010; Milham et al., 2005; Garon et al., 2008). For example, one study found that children with ADHD had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex during a task that required them to make errors (Cubillo et al., 2010). Another study found that adults with ADHD had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex during a task that required them to make errors (Milham et al., 2005). A third study found that adolescents with ADHD had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex during a task that required them to make errors (Garon et al., 2008).

The findings from these studies suggest that abnormalities in error processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and problems with executive function in ADHD. Specifically, the findings from these studies suggest that abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and problems with executive function in ADHD.

4. Reward and Error Processing in ADHD

The current study was mainly concerned with looking into the neurophysiological and to some extent the behavioral measures utilized in self regulation of both rewarded and no-rewarded tasks as well as post error slowing and post-Too slow speeding tasks among a group of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a group of typically developing children. The participants were asked to complete a computer task while their brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). The results showed that the children with ADHD had different patterns of brain activity during the tasks than the typically developing children. Specifically, the children with ADHD had less activity in the prefrontal cortex during the rewarded tasks and more activity in the prefrontal cortex during the no-reward tasks. In addition, the children with ADHD had less activity in the striatum during both the rewarded and no-reward tasks. These findings suggest that abnormalities in reward processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity in ADHD. In addition, these findings suggest that abnormalities in error processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and problems with executive function in ADHD.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the current study was mainly concerned with looking into the neurophysiological and to some extent the behavioral measures utilized in self regulation of both rewarded and no-rewarded tasks as well as post error slowing and post-Too slow speeding tasks among a group of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a group of typically developing children. The participants were asked to complete a computer task while their brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). The results showed that the children with ADHD had different patterns of brain activity during the tasks than the typically developing children. Specifically, the children with ADHD had less activity in the prefrontal cortex during the rewarded tasks and more activity in the prefrontal cortex during the no-reward tasks. In addition, the children with ADHD had less activity in the striatum during both the rewarded and no-reward tasks. These findings suggest that abnormalities in reward processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity in ADHD. In addition, these findings suggest that abnormalities in error processing may contribute to symptoms of impulsivity and problems with executive function in ADHD.

FAQ

ADHD is a mental disorder that is characterized by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Symptoms of ADHD can include difficulty paying attention, fidgeting, talking excessively, and acting without thinking.

The reward system in the brain is responsible for releasing chemicals that make us feel good when we do something pleasurable. This reinforces behaviors that are associated with the pleasure.

ADHD may impact the way the reward system works because people with ADHD may have trouble focusing on tasks long enough to receive a reward. Additionally, impulsive behavior associated with ADHD can lead to risky behaviors that may result in immediate gratification but ultimately negative consequences.

There are several treatments available for people with ADHD including medication, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes.