Sára Bálint1, Máté Baradits1, István Bitter1, Pál Czobor1
1 Semmelweis University, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Introduction: Social cognition plays an important role in interpersonal relationships, its impairment leads to fundamental changes in social behavior, and disturbances in social interactions. Deficits in emotional processing play a key role in the development of social interaction problems, which characterize patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Aims: Our aim was to investigate the neurobiological background of impairments in social cognition in ADHD using brain event-related potential (ERP) in an emotional Go/NoGo task.
Method: Participants included subjects with the DSM-IV diagnosis of adult ADHD (aADHD, n=46) and healthy controls (HC, n=34), matched for age, gender and education. High-density EEGs were recorded using a 256-channel BioSemi ActiveTwo system, and P200 responses were investigated while subjects performed a visual Go/NoGo task. Social cognition was measured by the „Reading the mind in the eyes”-test (RMET). The analysis was based on random-regression hierarchical linear modeling. Diagnostic group, %errors on RMET, and interaction between these two factors were the independent variables; P200 amplitude was the dependent variable.
Results: Compared to HCs, aADHD patients showed a significantly (p<0.05) diminished ERP amplitude with a topographically-specific distribution. The amplitude reduction in the aADHD group was the most pronounced in the temporo-parietal region. Furthermore, our results indicated that lower ERP amplitude in the temporo-parietal region in both groups was associated with lower performance in social cognition, as measured by the errors on the RMET. The association between ERP amplitude and the %errors on RMET was more pronounced in the aADHD group.
Conclusions: Deficits in social cognition in ADHD may be related to the abnormally reduced activity of the temporo-parietal neural networks, which have been reported to underlie social cognition impairments. Further analysis of ERP changes related to social cognition may reveal the neurobiological basis of specific symptom manifestations observed in certain diseases.
Funding: Hungarian National Brain Program (KTIA_NAP_13-1-2013-0001 project)
Doctoral School: Mental Health Sciences
Program: Clinical psychology and psychiatry
Supervisor: Pál Czobor