Altered proactive control in adults with ADHD: Evidence from event-related potentials during cued task switching

Justina Sidlauskaite*, Monica Dhar, Edmund Sonuga-Barke, Jan R. Wiersema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive control has two distinct modes – proactive and reactive (Braver, T. S. (2012). The variable nature of cognitive control: a dual mechanisms framework. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(2), 105–112). ADHD has been associated with cognitive control impairments. However, studies have mainly focused on reactive control and not proactive control. Here we investigated neural correlates of proactive and reactive cognitive control in a group of adults with ADHD versus healthy controls by employing a cued switching task while cue informativeness was manipulated and EEG recorded. On the performance level, only a trend to generally slower responding was found in the ADHD group. Cue-locked analyses revealed an attenuated informative-positivity – a differential component appearing when contrasting informative with non-informative alerting cues – and potentially altered lateralisation of the switch-positivity – evident in the contrast between switch and repeat trials for informative cues – in ADHD. No difference in target-locked activity was found. Our results indicate altered proactive rather than reactive control in adults with ADHD, evidenced by less use of cued advance information and abnormal preparatory processes for upcoming tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107330
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020


  • ADHD
  • Cued task switching
  • ERP
  • Proactive control


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