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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2014 Mar;202(3):247-52. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000100.

Risk taking in adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder on a probabilistic choice task.

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*The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel; and †The Neuropediatric Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.


Risk taking is commonly attributed to individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study investigated whether adolescents with ADHD would choose to take greater risks on a probabilistic task in which contingencies are explicitly presented. Adolescents with and without ADHD, aged 13 to 18 years, performed a modified version of the Cambridge Gambling Task. The subjects with ADHD risked smaller sums and chose the unfavorable outcomes more frequently than did the controls but had the same speed of decision and risk adjustment. The results indicate that their poor decisions were not due to impulsivity or insensitivity to the concept of probability and that increased risk taking is not always associated with ADHD. Moreover, in situations that do not demand learning of contingencies, ADHD may be associated with decreased, rather than increased, risk taking.

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