Dysfunctional Modulation of Default Mode Network Activity in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
The state regulation deficit model posits that individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulty applying mental effort effectively under suboptimal conditions such as very fast and very slow event rates (ERs). ADHD is also associated with diminished suppression of default mode network (DMN) activity and related performance deficits on tasks requiring effortful engagement. The current study builds on these 2 literatures to test the hypothesis that failure to modulate DMN activity in ADHD might be especially pronounced at ER extremes. Nineteen adults with ADHD and 20 individuals without any neuropsychiatric condition successfully completed a simple target detection task under 3 ER conditions (2-, 4-, and 8-s interstimulus intervals) inside the scanner. Task-related DMN deactivations were compared between 2 groups. There was a differential effect of ER on DMN activity for individualswith ADHD compared to controls. Individuals with ADHD displayed excessive DMN activity at the fast and slow, but not at the moderate ER. The results indicate that DMN attenuation in ADHD is disrupted in suboptimal energetic states where additional effort is required to optimize task engagement. DMN dysregulation may be an important element of the neurobiological underpinnings of state regulation deficits in ADHD.