Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and attention networks

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Jan;35(1):278-300. doi: 10.1038/npp.2009.120.


Research attempting to elucidate the neuropathophysiology of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has not only shed light on the disorder itself, it has simultaneously provided new insights into the mechanisms of normal cognition and attention. This review will highlight and integrate this bidirectional flow of information. Following a brief overview of ADHD clinical phenomenology, ADHD studies will be placed into a wider historical perspective by providing illustrative examples of how major models of attention have influenced the development of neurocircuitry models of ADHD. The review will then identify major components of neural systems potentially relevant to ADHD, including attention networks, reward/feedback-based processing systems, as well as a 'default mode' resting state network. Further, it will suggest ways in which these systems may interact and be influenced by neuromodulatory factors. Recent ADHD imaging data will be selectively provided to both illustrate the field's current level of knowledge and to show how such data can inform our understanding of normal brain functions. The review will conclude by suggesting possible avenues for future research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology