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A Matter of Time: The Influence of Recording Context on EEG Spectral Power in Adolescents and Young Adults with ADHD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalBrain topography


King's Authors


Elevated theta or theta/beta ratio is often reported in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the consistency across studies and the relation to hypoarousal are increasingly questioned. Reports of elevated delta related to maturational lag and of attenuated beta activity are less well replicated. Some critical inconsistencies could relate to differences in recording context. We examined if resting-state EEG power or global field synchronization (GFS) differed between recordings made at the beginning and end of a 1.5 h testing session in 76 adolescents and young adults with ADHD, and 85 controls. In addition, we aimed to examine the effect of IQ on any potential group differences. Both regional and midline electrodes yielded group main effects for delta, trends in theta, but no differences in alpha or theta/beta ratio. An additional group difference in beta was detected when using regions. Group by time interactions in delta and theta became significant when controlling for IQ. The ADHD group had higher delta and theta power at time-1, but not at time-2, whereas beta power was elevated only at time-2. GFS did not differ between groups or condition. We show some ADHD-control differences on EEG spectral power which varied with recording time within a single recording session, with both IQ and electrode selection having a small but significant influence on observed differences. Our findings demonstrate the effect of recording context on resting-state EEG, and highlight the importance of accounting for these variables to ensure consistency of results in future studies.

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