Adult ADHD Research

Attention Deficit/ Hyperactive Disorder: Reward Processing and Reversal Learning among an Adult Cohort

This study investigates two specific cognitive processes in ADHD; reward processing and reversal learning. A number of studies have shown that people with ADHD tend to favour immediate but small rewards over delayed but bigger rewards, even when some of the immediate rewards may be more unfavourable in the longer term. Most of the research in this area to date has involved children and adolescents rather than adults. 

This study builds on previous research led by Prof. Rob Whelan (Associate Professor, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin), in which neuropsychological data was collected on a large cohort of adults with a diagnosis of ADHD, their first-degree relatives and typically developing adults. 

The main aim of this study is to explore reward processing and reversal learning among adults with ADHD compared to controls, using a probabilistic reversal learning task. The study will allow us to investigate whether there is a difference in the latency of responses (positive and negative outcomes) during the reversals on the learning task for adults with ADHD compared to controls. Finally, we aim to establish whether there is a relationship between adults with ADHD and their first-degree relatives, in relation to the rate of responses on the reversal learning task. 

The current work is being carried out by Emily Cleary and Aoife Reynolds, supervised by Prof Rob Whelan and Prof Jane McGrath.