Arousal-state modulation in children with AD/HD

Nicholas Benikos, Stuart J. Johnstone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the effect of arousal-state modulation, via manipulation of stimulus event-rate, on response inhibition in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) using behavioural and ERP measures. Methods: Eighteen children with AD/HD, aged 7-14 years, and 18 age-and sex-matched controls performed a cued visual Go/Nogo task (70% Go) with stimuli presented at fast, medium and slow event-rates. Task performance and ERPs to Warning, Go and Nogo stimuli, as well as preparation between the S1-S2 interval, were examined for group differences. Results: AD/HD subjects displayed poorer response inhibition during the fast condition, accompanied by a reduced Nogo P3. Group differences during the fast rate extended to Warning cues, with the AD/HD group showing ERP evidence of atypical orienting/preparation, as indexed by the early and late CNV, and early sensory/attentive processing prior to S2. Conclusions: Although deficient response inhibition has been proposed as the core deficit in AD/HD, the results of the present study highlight the key role of energetic factors. Furthermore, group differences found to cues suggest that this effect extends to the processing of task-irrelevant stimuli. Significance: This was the first ERP Go/Nogo task investigation using three event-rates, and the results support the theory that state factors may contribute to response inhibition deficits in AD/HD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • AD/HD
  • event rate
  • children
  • response inhibition
  • visual Go/Nogo
  • cued
  • CNV
  • N2
  • P3

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