Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder

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Mental health

This page has merch on my redbubble store.

Another style of brain function that I am interested in. Also interesting: depression, addiction or personality disorders, autism, gender dysphoria etc. My expertise here is minimal.


Curious about the psychopharmacology of stimulants in particular, e.g. Handelman and Sumiya (2022).

Implications for learning

We tend to think about attention in part as a learning mechanism now. What does ADHD say about the human learnining mechanism?

Pollak (2023):

Indeed, children with ADHD needed more trials to reach the criterion, suggesting poor learning. However, they needed more trials under both the constant and the partial reinforcement conditions. On the extinction phase, children with ADHD made fewer previously-rewarded choices, suggesting faster extinction, as predicted by the DTD.

The combination of slow learning and fast extinction might seem surprising, as participants must learn the new rewards regimen in the extinction phase. Conversely, this combination is understandable; forgetting something one did not learn well is easier. Therefore, the results suggest that children with ADHD have a fundamental learning deficit, which is independent of whether the reinforcement is constant or partial.

See also (Addicott et al. 2021; Hulsbosch et al. n.d.; Nissan et al. 2023; Smith et al. 2022).

Thanks Oglaf


Addicott, Merideth A., John M. Pearson, Julia C. Schechter, Jeffrey J. Sapyta, Margaret D. Weiss, and Scott H. Kollins. 2021. β€œAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and the Explore/Exploit Trade-Off.” Neuropsychopharmacology 46 (3): 614–21.
Berman, S. M., R. Kuczenski, J. T. McCracken, and E. D. London. 2009. β€œPotential Adverse Effects of Amphetamine Treatment on Brain and Behavior: A Review.” Molecular Psychiatry 14 (2): 123–42.
Blum, Kenneth, Peter K. Thanos, Marlene Oscar-Berman, Marcelo Febo, David Baron, Rajendra D. Badgaiyan, Eliot Gardner, et al. 2015. β€œDopamine in the Brain: Hypothesizing Surfeit or Deficit Links to Reward and Addiction.” Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome 1 (3): 95–104.
Caye, Arthur, James M. Swanson, David Coghill, and Luis Augusto Rohde. 2019. β€œTreatment Strategies for ADHD: An Evidence-Based Guide to Select Optimal Treatment.” Molecular Psychiatry 24 (3): 390–408.
Dodson, William W. 2005. β€œPharmacotherapy of Adult ADHD.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 61 (5): 589–606.
Handelman, Kenneth, and Fernando Sumiya. 2022. β€œTolerance to Stimulant Medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Literature Review and Case Report.” Brain Sciences 12 (8): 959.
Hulsbosch, An-Katrien, Tom Beckers, Hasse De Meyer, Marina Danckaerts, Dagmar Van Liefferinge, Gail Tripp, and Saskia Van der Oord. n.d. β€œInstrumental Learning and Behavioral Persistence in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity-Disorder: Does Reinforcement Frequency Matter?” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry n/a (n/a).
Ls, Woon, Hazli Z, and Gan Lly. 2018. β€œPharmacotherapy for Comorbid Adult Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Stimulant Dependence: A Systematic Review.” IIUM Medical Journal Malaysia 17 (2).
MatΓ©, Gabor. 2011. Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder. Knopf Canada.
Nissan, Noyli, Uri Hertz, Nitzan Shahar, and Yafit Gabay. 2023. β€œDistinct Reinforcement Learning Profiles Distinguish Between Language and Attentional Neurodevelopmental Disorders.” Behavioral and Brain Functions 19 (1): 6.
Pollak, Yehuda. 2023. β€œPoor Learning or Hyper‐exploration?: A Commentary on Hulsbosch Et Al. (2023).” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, August, jcpp.13875.
Smith, Ryan, Samuel Taylor, Robert C. Wilson, Anne E. Chuning, Michelle R. Persich, Siyu Wang, and William D. S. Killgore. 2022. β€œLower Levels of Directed Exploration and Reflective Thinking Are Associated With Greater Anxiety and Depression.” Frontiers in Psychiatry 12.
Stoops, William W., and Craig R. Rush. 2013. β€œAgonist replacement for stimulant dependence: a review of clinical research.” Current Pharmaceutical Design 19 (40): 7026–35.
Volkow, Nora D. 2006. β€œStimulant Medications: How to Minimize Their Reinforcing Effects?” American Journal of Psychiatry 163 (3): 359–61.
Yanofski, Jason. 2011. β€œThe Dopamine Dilemmaβ€”Part II: Could Stimulants Cause Tolerance, Dependence, and Paradoxical Decompensation?” Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience 8 (1): 47–53.

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