AUTHORS: Rafi H, Murray R, Delavari F, Perroud N, Vuilleumier P, Debbané M, Piguet C

Journal of Attention Disorders, 27(4): 423–436, February 2023



To examine whether putatively atypical neuronal activity during internal attention in ADHD yields insights into processes underlying emotion dysregulation.


We used a word processing paradigm to assess neural activations in adults with ADHD (N = 46) compared to controls (N = 43). We measured effects of valence, applied partial-least squares correlation analysis to assess multivariate brainbehavior relationships and ran subgroup analyses to isolate results driven by pure ADHD (N = 18).


During internal attention, ADHD, compared to controls, have (1) increased activation in the right angular gyrus (rAG), which appears driven by pure, not comorbid, ADHD and (2) diminished activation in the insula and fronto-striatal circuitry. Diminished activations were driven by negatively-valenced internal attention and negatively correlated with increased affective lability within the ADHD group.


Internal attention in ADHD is associated with increased rAG activation, possibly reflecting difficulty converging external and internal information and diminished activation within emotion regulation circuitry.


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