, Volume 210, Issue 4, pp 511–519 | Cite as

Non-specific effects of methylphenidate (Ritalin) on cognitive ability and decision-making of ADHD and healthy adults

  • Nirit Agay
  • Eldad Yechiam
  • Ziv Carmel
  • Yechiel Levkovitz
Original Investigation



The effect of a single dose of methylphenidate (MPH) on cognitive measures and decision-making processes was assessed in a sample of adults with ADHD and in a control sample.


Thirty-two adults satisfying DSM-IV criteria for ADHD and 26 healthy controls performed several cognitive tasks. Half of the participants received MPH prior to performing the tasks, and the other half received placebo in a randomized, double-blind manner.


The average digit-span test score was higher in the groups receiving MPH compared to the groups receiving placebo, while diagnosis did not have an effect upon scores. In decision-making tasks, however, MPH did not have an effect upon performance, whereas in one of the tasks the average proportion of risky choices was higher in ADHD adults compared to controls.


Our data therefore demonstrates that (a) MPH is capable of enhancing specific aspects of cognitive performance and (b) this enhancement is not specific to ADHD.


Developmental disorder Behavioral assessment Decision-making Memory Attention 


Supplementary material

213_2010_1853_MOESM1_ESM.doc (37 kb)
ESM1 (DOC 37kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nirit Agay
    • 1
  • Eldad Yechiam
    • 1
  • Ziv Carmel
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yechiel Levkovitz
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Shalvata Mental Health CenterHod-HasharonIsrael
  3. 3.Tel-Aviv UniversityRamat-AvivIsrael

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