Error monitoring in college students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

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Recent error-related event-related potential (ERP) studies suggest that children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) display deficits in error monitoring compared to control children. Information regarding error monitoring deficit in adults with ADHD, however, is scarce. We investigated error monitoring in a sample of college students with ADHD and compared them to their control peers. In addition to error (-related) negativity (Ne/ERN) and error positivity (Pe), we examined behavioral performance such as reaction time (RT) as well as self-reported monitoring behaviors in daily-life situations. Thirty-two college students with no known disorders and 36 college students with ADHD between 18 and 30 years of age participated in this study. Results showed that college students with ADHD were slower in their RT and displayed more RT variability. College students with ADHD also demonstrated significantly smaller Ne/ERN amplitude and shorter Ne/ERN latency compared to control students. There were, however, no significant group differences in either Pe amplitude or Pe latency. With self-reported monitoring behaviors, ADHD students reported significantly more difficulties in both the Self-Monitor and Task Monitor scales of the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function–Adult Version (BRIEF-A) compared to control students. Collectively, these results suggest that college students with ADHD have atypical error monitoring as measured by brain processing, behavioral performance, and self-report.


© 2009 Federation of European Psychophysiology Societies

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Journal of Psychophysiology