Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been associated with reduced resting state connectivity in the core subsystem of the default mode network (DMN; medial prefrontal cortex – posterior cingulate cortex). However, the neuropsychological consequences of this hypoconnectivity remain to be determined. Building on recent theoretical models of DMN function, we tested the association between DMN hypo-connectivity and three neuropsychological processes previously implicated in ADHD: (i) excessive task-unrelated spontaneous thought (i.e., mind-wandering); (ii) sub-optimal decision-making due to exaggerated temporal discounting; and (iii) delay aversion – a heightened emotional response to the imposition or experience of delay.
Methods: Twenty male adolescents with a clinical diagnosis of ADHD and 18 typically developing adolescents (all aged 11–16 years) underwent a resting-state fMRI scan to assess DMN connectivity. An experimental paradigm was used to assess temporal discounting and self-report questionnaires were used to measure mind wandering and delay aversion.
Results: ADHD was significantly associated with DMN hypo-connectivity specifically in the core subsystem, elevated levels of mind-wandering, delay aversion, and temporal discounting. Mediation analysis suggested that DMN hypoconnectivity mediated the link between ADHD and delay aversion.
Conclusion: The results provide initial evidence that disturbances in the DMN may impair ability to regulate delay-related negative affect in adolescents with ADHD.
- Default mode network
- Delay aversion
- Temporal discounting
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Physiology (medical)