Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex condition with a heterogeneous presentation. Current diagnosis is primarily based on subjective experience and observer reports of behavioral symptoms - an approach that has significant limitations. Many studies show that individuals with ADHD exhibit poorer performance on cognitive tasks than neurotypical controls, and at least seven main functional domains appear to be implicated in ADHD. We discuss the underlying neural mechanisms of cognitive functions associated with ADHD, with emphasis on the neural basis of selective attention, demonstrating the feasibility of basic research approaches for further understanding cognitive behavioral processes as they relate to human psychopathology. The study of circuit-level mechanisms underlying executive functions in nonhuman primates holds promise for advancing our understanding, and ultimately the treatment, of ADHD.
Keywords: cognitive domain; mental illness; neuromodulator; prefrontal cortex.
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