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Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 201–209 | Cite as

Decision-making on an explicit risk-taking task in preadolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

  • R. Drechsler
  • P. Rizzo
  • H.-C. Steinhausen
Article

Summary.

Inappropriate risk-taking and disadvantageous decision-making have been described as major behavioural characteristics of patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However these behaviours are difficult to measure in laboratory contexts and recent studies have yielded inconsistent results which might be related to task characteristics. The present study adopted the Game of Dice Task, a test procedure in which risks are made explicit and the load on working memory is minimal. As a result, preadolescents with ADHD (N = 23) made significantly more risky choices and suffered major losses of money compared to normal controls (N = 24) but only when they played the game a second time. Differences in risk-taking correlated significantly with hyperactivity as rated by parents and with inhibitory control, but not with working memory performance. The results are discussed in the context of current theories of ADHD.

Keywords: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); risk-taking; decision-making; impulsivity; reward; gambling-task; probabilistic discounting 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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