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Frontostriatal Dysfunction During Decision Making in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-703
JournalBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
Issue number8
Early online date24 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


King's Authors


Background: The aim of the current paper is to provide the first comparison of computational mechanisms and neurofunctional substrates in adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during decision making under ambiguity. Methods: Sixteen boys with ADHD, 20 boys with OCD, and 20 matched control subjects (12–18 years of age) completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging version of the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain activation was compared between groups using three-way analysis of covariance. Hierarchical Bayesian analysis was used to compare computational modeling parameters between groups. Results: Patient groups shared reduced choice consistency and relied less on reinforcement learning during decision making relative to control subjects, while adolescents with ADHD alone demonstrated increased reward sensitivity. During advantageous choices, both disorders shared underactivation in ventral striatum, while OCD patients showed disorder-specific underactivation in the ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex. During outcome evaluation, shared underactivation to losses in patients relative to control subjects was found in the medial prefrontal cortex and shared underactivation to wins was found in the left putamen/caudate. ADHD boys showed disorder-specific dysfunction in the right putamen/caudate, which was activated more to losses in patients with ADHD but more to wins in control subjects. Conclusions: The findings suggest shared deficits in using learned reward expectancies to guide decision making, as well as shared dysfunction in medio-fronto-striato-limbic brain regions. However, findings of unique dysfunction in the ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex in OCD and in the right putamen in ADHD indicate additional, disorder-specific abnormalities and extend similar findings from inhibitory control tasks in the disorders to the domain of decision making under ambiguity.

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