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Electrophysiological correlates of spontaneous mind wandering in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Electrophysiological correlates of spontaneous mind wandering in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Bozhilova, Natali, Cooper, Ruth ORCID: 0000-0002-9735-4731, Kuntsi, Jonna, Asherson, Philip and Michelini, Giorgia (2020) Electrophysiological correlates of spontaneous mind wandering in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Behavioural Brain Research, 391:112632. ISSN 0166-4328 (doi:

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We recently hypothesised that increased spontaneous mind wandering (MW-S) reflects a core process underlying attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Previous studies show that individuals with ADHD and neurotypical individuals with increased MW-S display similar cognitive-performance and electrophysiological (EEG) impairments in attentional processes. However, the cognitive-EEG markers associated with increased MW-S in ADHD remain poorly understood. We therefore investigated such markers in a sample of 69 sex- and age-matched adults with ADHD and 29 controls during the Sustained Attention to Response Task. We compared task performance and EEG measures (P3, time-frequency brain-oscillations) of attentional processes between groups, and examined their association with a validated self-report questionnaire of MW-S. Finally, we tested the hypothesis that MW-S and ADHD diagnosis relate to the same cognitive-EEG impairments using a hierarchical regression model. Compared to controls, adults with ADHD showed attenuations in P3, event-related alpha and beta suppression during response inhibition (No-Go trials), and theta power activations during response execution (Go trials), as well as increased reaction time variability and more commission/omission errors. MW-S was also continuously associated with most cognitive-EEG measures related to ADHD. The hierarchical regressions on measures associated with both ADHD diagnosis and MW-S showed that MW-S did not explain additional variance in the cognitive-EEG markers (except for beta suppression) beyond ADHD diagnosis, and vice versa. These findings are consistent with our hypothesis that ADHD diagnosis and MW-S share common neural deficits, and that MW-S may reflect a core symptom of the disorder.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: ADHD, Mind wandering, Neuroscience, EEG
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2021 09:28

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