ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (Suppl.): 12-.

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Attentional Selection and Suppression in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Encong Wang; Li Sun; Meirong Sun; Jing Huang; Ye Tao; Xixi Zhao; Zhanliang Wu; Yulong Ding; Daniel P. Newman; Mark A. Bellgrove; Yufeng Wang; Yan Song   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, 100875,
    Peking University Sixth Hospital / Institute of Mental Health, Beijing, China,100191
    National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders (Peking University Sixth Hospital), Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Ministry of Health (Peking University), Beijing, China, 100191,
    Brain and Cognition Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China, 510275
    School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
    Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, 100875
  • Online:2016-12-31 Published:2016-12-31


PURPOSE: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder with prominent impairments in directing and sustaining attention. The current study sought to identify the neurophysiological bases of attention deficits in ADHD, focusing on electroencephalographic (EEG) markers of attentional selection (N2pc) and suppression (PD).
METHODS: EEG data were collected from 135 children with and without ADHD, ages 9–15 years, while they searched for a shape target either in the absence (Experiment 1) or presence (Experiment 2) of a salient-but-irrelevant color distractor.
RESULTS: In Experiment 1, the shape target elicited a smaller N2pc in children with ADHD (n = 38) compared to typically developing (TD) children (n = 36). The smaller N2pc amplitude predicted higher levels of inattentive symptomatology in children with ADHD. Moreover, the target-elicited N2pc was followed by a positivity in the TD children, but not in children with ADHD. In Experiment 2, the salient-but-irrelevant color distractor elicited a smaller PD component in children with ADHD (n = 32) than in TD children (n = 29). The smaller PD predicted higher inattentive symptom severity as well as lower behavioral accuracy in children with ADHD.
CONCLUSIONS: The correlation between N2pc/PD amplitudes and ADHD symptom severity suggests that these signals of attentional selection and suppression may serve as potential candidates for neurophysiological markers of ADHD. Our findings provide a neurophysiological basis for the subjective reports of attention deficits in children with ADHD and highlight the importance of spatial attention impairments in ADHD.

Key words: ADHD, Selection, Suppression, N2pc, PD