Brain's reward center functions differently in boys with ADHD.
Boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or conduct disorder exhibit a different pattern of brain activity than normally developing boys, according to a new study by a University of Washington, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
The striatal region of the brain motivates people to engage in pleasurable or rewarding behavior. The anterior cingulate area of the brain normally activates when an expected reward stops. However, this process, called extinction, doesn't occur, in boys with ADHD or conduct disorders. Instead, the striatal region continues to be activated, said Theodore Beauchaine, a senior author of the paper.
"Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are always looking to have fun and that is what gets them in trouble," he said. "A behavior should stop when the reward stops. When you stop the reward for children with these disorders, they continue to focus on the reward long afterward."
Read more from the University of Washington.