NOTTINGHAM, England, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Brain scans show children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have difficulty switching off "mind-wandering," researchers in Britain say.
First author Elizabeth Liddle University of Nottingham, England, suggests this may explain why children with ADHD struggle to concentrate on boring tasks.
The study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, finds brain scans indicate children with ADHD with low task incentives and without medication fail to switch off "mind-wandering" areas. However, after given either greater incentives or their medication, they work on the task in way indistinguishable from those without ADHD.
"The common complaint about children with ADHD is that 'he can concentrate and control himself fine when he wants to,' so some people just think the child is being naughty when he misbehaves," Liddle says in a statement. "We have shown that this may be a very real difficulty for them. The off-switch for their 'internal world' seems to need a greater incentive to function properly and allow them to attend to their task."
Liddle and colleagues analyzed brain scans of a group of 18 children ages 9-15 years with ADHD vs. a similar group without ADHD. The children with ADHD were tested both with and without the medication methylphenidate.