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Temporal discounting of monetary rewards in children and adolescents with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders

Demurie, Ellen, Roeyers, Herbert, Baeyens, Dieter and Sonuga-Barke, Edmund (2012) Temporal discounting of monetary rewards in children and adolescents with ADHD and autism spectrum disorders Developmental Science (doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01178.x).

Record type: Article


It has been difficult to differentiate attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in terms of some aspects of their cognitive profile. While both show deficits in executive functions, it has been suggested that they may differ in their response to monetary reward. For instance, children with ADHD prefer small immediate over large delayed rewards more than typically developing controls. One explanation for this is that they discount the value of rewards to a higher degree as they are moved into the future. The current study investigated whether children with ADHD can be differentiated from those with ASD in terms of reward discounting. Thirty-nine children (8–16 y) with ADHD, 34 children with ASD and 46 typically developing controls performed a hypothetical monetary temporal discounting task. Participants were instructed to make repeated choices between small variable rewards (0, 5, 10, 20, 30€) delivered immediately and large rewards delivered after a variable delay. Children with ADHD but not ASD discounted future rewards at a higher rate than typically developing controls. These data confirm steeper discounting of future rewards in ADHD and add to a small but growing literature showing that the psychological profile of ADHD can be distinguished from that of ASD in terms of disrupted motivational processes.

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Published date: 29 August 2012
Organisations: Clinical Neuroscience


Local EPrints ID: 343143
PURE UUID: ac6bc963-2224-4560-9952-1c9872b086f8

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Date deposited: 26 Sep 2012 14:00
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:24

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Author: Ellen Demurie
Author: Herbert Roeyers
Author: Dieter Baeyens
Author: Edmund Sonuga-Barke

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