Evidence for an error monitoring deficit in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2004 Jun;32(3):285-93. doi: 10.1023/b:jacp.0000026142.11217.f2.


We studied error monitoring in ADHD and control children in a task requiring inhibition of a motor response. The extent of slowing following successful (stopped) and failed (nonstopped) inhibition was compared across groups. We also measured the time required to inhibit a response (stop signal reaction time, SSRT). Compared to controls, ADHD participants slowed less following nonstopped responses. Slowing did not vary with comorbid reading, oppositional, conduct or anxiety disorder, sex or ADHD subtype. Slowing after nonstopped responses was marginally, although significantly correlated with total ADHD symptoms and with age. ADHD participants had significantly longer SSRT than controls, but SSRT was not significantly correlated with slowing. The apparent deficit in error monitoring in ADHD and its independence from the inhibition deficit observed in ADHD has implications for executive control models of ADHD, performance problems associated with the disorder and for component theories of executive control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Reaction Time