Affect recognition deficits found in individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) across the lifespan may bias the development of cognitive control processes implicated in the pathophysiology of the disorder. This study aimed to determine the mechanism through which facial expressions influence cognitive control in young adults diagnosed with ADHD in childhood. Fourteen probands with childhood ADHD and 14 comparison subjects with no history of ADHD were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a face emotion go/no-go task. Event-related analyses contrasted activation and functional connectivity for cognitive control collapsed over face valence and tested for variations in activation for response execution and inhibition as a function of face valence. Probands with childhood ADHD made fewer correct responses and inhibitions overall than comparison subjects, but demonstrated comparable effects of face emotion on response execution and inhibition. The two groups showed similar frontotemporal activation for cognitive control collapsed across face valence, but differed in the functional connectivity of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, with fewer interactions with the subgenual cingulate cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, and putamen in probands than in comparison subjects. Further, valence-dependent activation for response execution was seen in the amygdala, ventral striatum, subgenual cingulate cortex, and orbitofrontal cortex in comparison subjects but not in probands. The findings point to functional anomalies in limbic networks for both the valence-dependent biasing of cognitive control and the valence-independent cognitive control of face emotion processing in probands with childhood ADHD. This limbic dysfunction could impact cognitive control in emotional contexts and may contribute to the social and emotional problems associated with ADHD.
Schulz, K. P., Bédard, A. V., Fan, J., Clerkin, S. M., Dima, D., Newcorn, J. H. & Halperin, J. M. (2014). Emotional bias of cognitive control in adults with childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. NeuroImage : Clinical, 5, 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2014.05.016.