Reduced electrodermal response to errors predicts poor sustained attention performance in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Redmond O'Connell, Mark Andrew Bellgrove, Paul Dockree, Ian H. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Research into attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has indicated abnormalities in electrodermal system activity (EDA) and separately, deficits in sustained attention. Here we asked whether reduced EDA in ADHD was consequential for the attention problems associated with this disorder. On a sustained attention task ADHD participants had higher overall error rates and exhibited a marked decrease in skin conductance responses (SCRs) to errors, relative to control children. Further, sustained attention errors were predicted by SCR amplitudes. Evidence of post-error slowing in both groups suggested comparable error awareness. It is proposed that attenuation of the normal autonomic response to errors reflects impairment in ADHD participants' psychological response to error significance and results in decreased behavioural correction and hence poorer sustained attention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2535-2538
Number of pages4
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD

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