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Preterm birth is associated with heightened risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like symptoms and neurocognitive impairments, including impairments in performance monitoring. Here, we investigate the cognitive and neurophysiological processes from a performance-monitoring task in preterm-born adolescents and examine whether these processes in preterm-born adolescents reflect identical neurophysiological impairments to those observed in term-born adolescents with ADHD. We compared 186 pretermborn individuals to 69 term-born individuals with ADHD and 135 term-born controls on cognitive- performance measures and event-related potentials (ERPs) of conflict monitoring (N2) and error processing (ERN, Pe) from a flanker task. Preterm-born adolescents demonstrated reduced N2, ERN and Pe amplitudes, compared to controls, and similar ERN and Pe impairments to term-born adolescents with ADHD. While ADHD symptoms correlated with ERN amplitude at FCz among the preterm-born, ERN amplitude at Fz, N2 and Pe amplitude were not associated with ADHD symptoms. Preterm-born individuals show impairments on neurophysiological indices of conflict monitoring (N2) and error processing (ERN and Pe). Early neurophysiological error processing may be a marker underlying the processes linked to the increased risk for ADHD among preterm-born individuals. Error detection processes are malleable and potential targets for non-pharmacological interventions. Preterm-born individuals are likely to benefit from early interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214864
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2019


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