Telling good from bad news: ADHD differentially affects processing of positive and negative feedback during guessing.

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

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Neuroimaging studies on ADHD suggest abnormalities in brain regions associated with decision-making and reward processing such as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and orbitofrontal cortex. Recently, event-related potential (ERP) studies demonstrated that the ACC is involved in processing feedback signals during guessing and gambling. The resulting negative deflection, the 'feedback-related negativity' (FRN) has been interpreted as reflecting an error in reward prediction. In the present study, ERPs elicited by positive and negative feedback were recorded in children with ADHD and normal controls during guessing. 'Correct' and 'incorrect' guesses resulted in respectively monetary gains and losses. The FRN amplitude to losses was more pronounced in the ADHD group than in normal controls. Positive and negative feedback differentially affected long latency components in the ERP waveforms of normal controls, but not ADHD children. These later deflections might be related to further emotional or strategic processing. The present findings suggest an enhanced sensitivity to unfavourable outcomes in children with ADHD, probably due to abnormalities in mesolimbic reward circuits. In addition, further processing, such as affective evaluation and the assessment of future consequences of the feedback signal seems to be altered in ADHD. These results may further help understanding the neural basis of decision-making deficits in ADHD. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1946-1954
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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