Two sides of the same coin: ADHD affects reactive but not proactive inhibition in children
Suarez Del Chiaro, Isabel Cristina | 2022-02-24
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) present a deficit in inhibitory control. Still, it remains unclear whether it comes from a deficit in reactive inhibition (ability to stop the action in progress), proactive inhibition (ability to exert preparatory control), or both. We compared the performance of 39 children with ADHD and 42 typically developing children performing a Simon choice reaction time task. The Simon task is a conflict task that is well-adapted to dissociate proactive and reactive inhibition. Beyond classical global measures (mean reaction time, accuracy rate, and interference effect), we used more sophisticated dynamic analyses of the interference effect and accuracy rate to investigate reactive inhibition. We studied proactive inhibition through the congruency sequence effect (CSE). Our results showed that children with ADHD had impaired reactive but not proactive inhibition. Moreover, the deficit found in reactive inhibition seems to be due to both a stronger impulse capture and more difficulties in inhibiting impulsive responses. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how ADHD affects inhibitory control in children.