Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry vol:52 issue:11 pages:1164-1173
Objective: Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) display abnormalities in reward processing. Most reward studies have focused on the effects of material or monetary rewards. Studies with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have focused on social rewards. In this study we compared the effects of amount and type of reward in children with ADHD with children with ASD. Method: Two adapted versions of the Monetary Incentive Delay Task were used to study the effects of monetary and social reward anticipation on task performance in 40 typically developing children and adolescents (8�?16 y), 35 children and adolescents with ADHD and 31 children and adolescents with ASD. Results: Both monetary and social reward improved accuracy and RT and these effects were seen for all groups. The higher the anticipated reward, the more accurate and faster were the responses. Independent of these effects of reward amount there was a differential effect of reward condition. For both clinical groups RTs were shorter in the monetary rather than the social reward settings. Conclusions: The current results did not support previous evidence of hyposensitivity to changes in reward amount in ADHD and ASD. They do however suggest that both ASD and ADHD children are generally less motivated in settings where social as opposed to monetary rewards can be earned. Future work needs to explore whether different processes can account for these similar effects.