Motivational effects on motor timing in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

C.S. van Meel, J. Oosterlaan, D.J. Heslenfeld, J.A. Sergeant

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: This study was designed to clarify whether poor performance of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on motor timing tasks reflects a true deficit in the temporal organization of motor output or is due to a lack of intrinsic motivation. Method: Eighteen children with ADHD (age 8-12) were compared with 18 age- and gender-matched normal controls with respect to timing precision, timing variability, and the frequency of extreme under- and overestimations during a 1-second interval production task. Monetary reward, response cost, and no reward were implemented to manipulate motivation. Results: Children with ADHD produced significantly more inaccurate and more variable time intervals and exhibited a larger number of extreme over- and underestimations than control children. Although all children performed significantly better when monetary incentives were applied, group differences were not eliminated. Conclusions: In this study, no evidence was found for a motivational deficit as an explanation for impaired performance on a time production task in ADHD. Rather, results provide clear support for a generic motor timing deficit, probably due to a dysfunctional frontostriatocerebellar network involved in temporal aspects of motor preparation. ©2005 by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-460
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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