Rewards are like drugs for ADHD kids - Macleans.ca

Rewards are like drugs for ADHD kids

Brains respond to behavioural rewards: study

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In a new study, researchers from Nottingham University measured brain activity as kids played a computer game, and offered extra points for less impulsive behaviour. They found that the brains of kids with attention-deficit disorders responded to on the spot rewards much like they do to medication, which could lead to lower doses of drugs like Ritalin in severe cases. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can lead to behavioural problems like impulsive actions, fidgeting and poor attention span, which can affect academics and socializing. In this study, kids played a game that involved catching “aliens” of certain colours, and avoiding those of a different colour, to test their ability to resist the impulse to grab the wrong alien. The reward for catching the right alien was increased fivefold, as was the penalty for catching the wrong one. Activity in different parts of the brain was monitored, and researchers found incentives helped kids perform better, though not to the same extent as a normal Ritalin dose.

BBC News

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