Methylphenidate mediated change in prosody is specific to the performance of a cognitive task in female adult ADHD patients

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2015;16(8):635-9. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2015.1036115. Epub 2015 May 6.


Objectives: Prosody production is highly personalized, related to both the emotional and cognitive state of the speaker and to the task being performed. Fundamental frequency (F main) is a central measurable feature of prosody, associated with having an attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Since methylphenidate is an effective therapy for ADHD, we hypothesized that it will affect the fundamental frequency of ADHD patients.

Methods: The answers of 32 adult ADHD patients were recorded while performing two computerized tasks (cognitive and emotional). Evaluations were performed at baseline and an hour after patients received methylphenidate.

Results: A significant effect of methylphenidate was observed on the fundamental frequency, as opposed to other parameters, of prosody. This change was evident while patients performed a cognitive, as opposed to an emotional, task. This change was seen in the 14 female ADHD patients but not in the 18 male ADHD patients. The fundamental frequency while performing a cognitive task without methylphenidate was not different in the female ADHD group, from 22 female controls.

Conclusions: This pilot study supports prosodic changes as possible objective and accessible dynamic biological marker of treatment responses specifically in female ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD; gender; main frequency; pharmacotherapy; prosody.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sex Factors
  • Speech Acoustics
  • Speech*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate