Cool and hot executive functions in medication-naive attention deficit hyperactivity disorder children

B.-R. Yang, R.C.K. Chan, N. Gracia, X.-Y. Cao, X.-B. Zou, J. Jing, J.-N. Mai, J. Li, Ho Keung David Shum

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background This study aimed to compare 'cool' [working memory (WM) and response inhibition] and 'hot' (delay aversion) executive functions (EFs) in children with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).Method A total of 100 ADHD children (45 with family history of ADHD and 55 with no family history) and 100 healthy controls, all medication free, were tested on tasks related to the 'hot' (i.e. two choice-delay tasks) and 'cool' domains of EF (i.e. Digits backward, Corsi Block Task backward, Go/No-Go Task, Stop-Signal Task, and the Stroop).Results Compared with the controls, children with ADHD were found to perform significantly worse on one or more measures of response inhibition, WM, and delay aversion after controlling for co-morbidities and estimated IQ. In addition, comparisons between ADHD children with family history of ADHD and those with no family history found significant differences on measures of response inhibition and WM but not delay aversion. These results are largely supported by results of two logistic regressions.Conclusions ADHD was found to be associated with deficits on both cool and hot EFs. There is also evidence to suggest that cool EFs impairment is related to a family history of ADHD. Findings of this study have helped to elucidate the nature and extent of EF deficits in children with ADHD. © 2011 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2593-2602
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • delay aversion
  • executive functions
  • response inhibition
  • working memory.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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