Neurobehavioral and hemodynamic evaluation of Stroop and reverse Stroop interference in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Published:February 15, 2013DOI:


      Failure of executive function (EF) is a core symptom of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, various results have been reported and sufficient evidence is lacking. In the present study, we evaluated the characteristics of children with ADHD using the Stroop task (ST) and reverse Stroop task (RST) that reflects the inhibition function of EF. We compared children with ADHD, typically developing children (TDC), and children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is more difficult to discriminate from ADHD. A total of 10 children diagnosed with ADHD, 15 TDC, and 11 children diagnosed with ASD, all matched by age, sex, language ability, and intelligence quotient, participated in this study. While each subject performed computer-based ST and RST with a touch panel, changes in oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) were measured in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to correlate test performance with neural activity. Behavioral performance significantly differed among 3 groups during RST but not during ST. The ADHD group showed greater color interference than the TDC group. In addition, there was a negative correlation between right lateral PFC (LPFC) activity and the severity of attention deficit. Children with ADHD exhibit several problems associated with inhibition of color, and this symptom is affected by low activities of the right LPFC. In addition, it is suggested that low hemodynamic activities in this area are correlated with ADHD.


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