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Int J Psychophysiol. 2005 Oct;58(1):47-58.

The effect of methylphenidate on response inhibition and the event-related potential of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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Department of Psychology and Brain & Behaviour Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong 2522, Australia.


Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) appear to be deficient in inhibitory processes, as reflected in behavioural and electrophysiological measures. This study examined the effect of methylphenidate (MPH) on response inhibition in children with AD/HD. Event-related potentials (ERPs) and skin conductance level (SCL) were recorded from 18 boys with AD/HD and 18 controls while they performed a cued Go/Nogo task with 70% Go probability. All participants performed the task twice, with an hour interval between test sessions. At the beginning of this interval children with AD/HD took their normal morning dose of MPH. The AD/HD group showed lower SCL than controls pre-medication, a difference not found subsequent to the administration of MPH. While the AD/HD group made more overall errors (omission+commission) pre-medication, and continued to make more omission errors than controls post-medication, the groups became comparable on the number of commission errors, suggesting MPH ameliorates deficits in response inhibition. Children with AD/HD displayed enhanced N1 and P2 amplitudes, and reduced N2 amplitudes relative to controls. These differences were not significant post-medication, at least partly attributable to the action of MPH. This study is unusual in the concurrent examination of electrodermal and electrophysiological measures of medication effects in children with AD/HD, with the retesting of both the AD/HD and control groups allowing a more valid estimate of the effects of medication, rather than assuming that retesting does not have a substantial impact.

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