The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Methylphenidate effects in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: electrodermal and ERP measures during a continuous performance task

Lawrence, C.A., Barry, R.J., Clarke, A.R., Johnstone, S.J., McCarthy, R., Selikowitz, M and Broyd, S.J. (2005) Methylphenidate effects in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: electrodermal and ERP measures during a continuous performance task Psychopharmacology, 183, (1), pp. 81-91. (doi:10.1007/s00213-005-0144-y).

Record type: Article


Rationale: Previous research investigating the effects of stimulants, such as methylphenidate (MPH), on children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) has rarely included autonomic measures of arousal.
Objective: Our aim was to clarify the effects of MPH on central and autonomic measures in AD/HD children during a continuous performance task (CPT) using a naturalistic open-label study.
Method: Thirty-six boys (18 AD/HD and 18 control) participated in a CPT over two trial periods, allowing a more valid estimate of the effects of medication, rather than assuming that retesting per se has no substantial impact. MPH was administered to the AD/HD group 1 h prior to the second trial. Errors and reaction time (RT) were recorded as measures of performance, electrodermal activity as an autonomic nervous system measure and event-related potentials (ERPs) as an index of central nervous system activity.
Results: AD/HD children made more errors than controls in the first session, but no group differences were found after medication. No significant differences were observed for RT. Skin conductance level was found to be lower in AD/HD children than controls, but this difference was also ameliorated after medication. Conversely, mean skin conductance response to target stimuli was found not to differ between groups during the initial test phase but became significantly different in phase 2. ERP data showed topographic differences between groups in N1, P2, N2 and P3 at the initial test phase, which were reduced at the second test.
Conclusion: Stimulant medication ameliorated some of the dysfunctions in AD/HD children, which are reflected in behavioural and ERP measures. These results, in combination with general differences in electrodermal activity, support a hypoarousal model of AD/HD, which can explain the action of MPH in these children.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2005
Keywords: ad/hd, stimulants, event-related potentials, skin conductance, cpt, boys, children, hypoarousal


Local EPrints ID: 48224
ISSN: 0033-3158
PURE UUID: 6c703716-c9b4-4deb-8cc0-a87258494ab6

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Sep 2007
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:00

Export record



Author: C.A. Lawrence
Author: R.J. Barry
Author: A.R. Clarke
Author: S.J. Johnstone
Author: R. McCarthy
Author: M Selikowitz
Author: S.J. Broyd

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.