abstract Anouk Scheres

Anouk Scheres (Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

What are you waiting for? Neural and behavioral correlates of impulsivity in ADHD

In this presentation, I will give an overview of the research on impulsivity in the context of ADHD. Specifically, this overview will focus on research that has examined impulsivity in the context of rewards, including behavioral work on Temporal Reward Discounting, as well as functional neuroimaging work on neural activation during the anticipation of rewards. There is converging evidence that symptoms of ADHD are associated with relatively strong preferences for small immediate rewards (steep temporal discounting). However, important questions remain such as what drives these preferences (delay aversion? reduced reward sensitivity? a “now bias”?), are these findings specifically associated with symptoms of impulsivity or more generally with ADHD symptoms, in which situations do these strong preferences for small immediate rewards occur? In terms of neuroimaging research, there is initial evidence suggesting that ADHD is associated with unique activation in brain regions that play an important role in the processing of rewards. The next step is to understand what these fMRI findings mean. Therefore, the challenge for future research is to design neuroimaging studies that can answer the question through which mechanisms these unique brain activation patterns are associated with symptoms of ADHD.