Methylphenidate increases willingness to perform effort in adults with ADHD.
BACKGROUND: A reduced willingness to perform effort based on the magnitude and probability of potential rewards has been associated with diminished dopamine function and may be relevant to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here, we investigated the influence of ADHD status and methylphenidate on effort-based decisions. We hypothesized that ADHD participants would make fewer high-effort selections than non-ADHD subjects, and that methylphenidate would increase the number of high-effort selections. Furthermore, we hypothesized there would be associations among ADHD severity and methylphenidate-related changes in effort-based and attentional performance across all participants. METHODS AND PARTICIPANTS: ADHD (n = 23) and non-ADHD (n = 23) adults completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task in which participants select between low-effort and high-effort options to receive monetary rewards at varying levels of reward magnitude and probability. A test of attentional performance was also completed. RESULTS: Overall, participants made more high-effort selections as potential reward magnitude and probability increased. ADHD participants did not make fewer high-effort selections than non-ADHD participants, but ADHD participants showed greater methylphenidate-related increases in high-effort selections. ADHD participants had worse attentional performance than non-ADHD participants. ADHD severity was associated with methylphenidate-related changes in high-effort selections, but not changes in attentional performance. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that methylphenidate increases the willingness to perform effort in individuals with ADHD, possibly due to disorder-related motivational deficits. This provides support for theories of insufficient effort allocation among individuals with ADHD. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier, NCT02630017.
Addicott, MA; Schechter, JC; Sapyta, JJ; Selig, JP; Kollins, SH; Weiss, MD
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