Neurophysiological differences in inhibitory control between adults with ADHD and their peers. Academic Article uri icon


  • Inhibitory control allows individuals to suppress prepotent responses and resist irrelevant stimuli, and is thought to be a core deficit in Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Whereas numerous studies have investigated neural mechanisms underlying inhibitory control deficits in children with ADHD, less is known about underlying mechanisms in young adults with ADHD. This study explores the neural correlates of inhibitory control in college students with ADHD-a population that, despite comparatively high educational attainment, still shows marked functional impairments in academic, social, and occupational functioning. Participants were 54 college students with ADHD and 29 typically developing peers. Specifically the fronto-centrally located N2 and the centro-parietal P3 event-related potential (ERP) components were hypothesized to show decreased amplitudes for the ADHD group due to their known association with inhibitory control. Dense array electroencephalography (EEG) data was collected during a Go/nogo task. Results show lower accuracy rates for the ADHD group and significant reductions in P3 amplitude as well as a trend for reduced N2 amplitude in nogo trials where subjects successfully inhibited a response. Notably, nogo N2 and P3 amplitudes correlated with the number of ADHD symptoms: namely, smaller amplitudes were associated with more symptoms. We conclude that when compared to their typically developing peers, relatively high functioning adults with ADHD still show a deviant neural signature. These results contribute to the growing literature of adult ADHD and increase our understanding of the neural correlates of inhibitory control associated with ADHD.

published proceedings

  • Neuropsychologia

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Woltering, S., Liu, Z., Rokeach, A., & Tannock, R.

citation count

  • 75

complete list of authors

  • Woltering, Steven||Liu, Zhongxu||Rokeach, Alan||Tannock, Rosemary

publication date

  • January 2013