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Irina Nesterovsky, Lilach Shalev, Roy Luria, Keren Saar, Pnina Stern, Baruch Styr, Carmel Mevorach; Electrophysiological evidence for decreased top-down attentional control in adults with ADHD. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1337. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.12.1337.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
One of the characteristics of adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is deficient executive functioning; however the underlying mechanism is unclear. In the present study we investigated the neural substrate of executive attention in 35 adult participants with and without ADHD using a derivative of the Global-Local task, while recording a continuous EEG from participants’ scalp. The demand for executive attention was invoked by including both congruent and incongruent displays (so that participants had to resolve a perceptual and response conflict) and by manipulating the relative salience of the global and local information (by using small and large display sizes). At the behavioral level, participants with ADHD performed significantly worse than the control group. Interestingly, we found two ERP components (latency of N1 at parieto-occipital electrodes and mean amplitude in a late component measured across 350-450ms time window at midline electrodes) that differentiated between the groups. Critically, both components exhibited a similar pattern whereby differences between target and distractor salient conditions (representing top-down control) that were evident for the controls were substantially attenuated for the ADHD group. In addition, N1 peak amplitude also differed between the groups: for the ADHD group the amplitude reflected the difference between small and large display sizes while for the controls the difference was substantially smaller. Taken together, these data highlight both reduced top-down signature (smaller difference between target and distractor salient conditions) as well as increased bottom-up signature (larger difference between small and large displays) in the ADHD group. All three ERP measures that differentiated between the groups were correlated with ADHD symptoms (Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-ASRS). We therefore suggest that adults with ADHD are less efficient at applying pro-active top-down executive control and that this may represent a core difficulty in ADHD.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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