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Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 14;7(1):11550. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11295-w.

Children and adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder cannot move to the beat.

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EuroMov Laboratory, University of Montpellier, 700 Av. du Pic Saint Loup, 34090, Montpellier, France.
NaturalPad, SAS, 700 Av. du Pic Saint Loup, 34090, Montpellier, France.
National reference center for narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia, specialized in adult ADHD, Gui-de-Chauliac University Hospital, 80 Av. Augustin Fliche, 34295, Montpellier, France.
Inserm Unit U1061, La Colombière University Hospital, 39 Av. Charles Flahault, 34093, Montpellier, France.
Department of Psychology, PSITEC-EA 4072 Laboratory, University of Lille, Domaine Universitaire Pont de bois, 59653, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France.
University Hospital of Lille, Department of Pediatric Neurology, 2 Av. Oscar Lambret, 59037, Lille, France.
EuroMov Laboratory, University of Montpellier, 700 Av. du Pic Saint Loup, 34090, Montpellier, France.
International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), 1430 Boulevard du Mont-Royal, Montreal, QC H2V 2J2, Canada.
Institut Universitaire de France, 1 Rue Descartes, 75231, Paris, France.
Department of Cognitive Psychology, WSFiZ in Warsaw, Ul. Pawia 55, 01-030, Warsaw, Poland.


Children and adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) fail in simple tasks like telling whether two sounds have different durations, or in reproducing single durations. The deficit is linked to poor reading, attention, and language skills. Here we demonstrate that these timing distortions emerge also when tracking the beat of rhythmic sounds in perceptual and sensorimotor tasks. This contrasts with the common observation that durations are better perceived and produced when embedded in rhythmic stimuli. Children and adults with ADHD struggled when moving to the beat of rhythmic sounds, and when detecting deviations from the beat. Our findings point to failure in generating an internal beat in ADHD while listening to rhythmic sounds, a function typically associated with the basal ganglia. Rhythm-based interventions aimed at reinstating or compensating this malfunctioning circuitry may be particularly valuable in ADHD, as already shown for other neurodevelopmental disorders, such as dyslexia and Specific Language Impairment.

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