Quay (1988) put forward a model of childhood mental disorders based on Gray's (1982) theory that there exists within the brain a behavioral inhibition system (BIS), which processes signals related to aversive or punishing stimuli. According to this model, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show lower than optimal levels of activity in this system, which leads to less responsiveness at a physiological level to signals related to punishment. Children with ADHD and controls were compared on a classical conditioning paradigm. Skin conductance and cardiac responses were measured in response to a conditioned stimulus that had been paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus. There were no differences between the groups, suggesting that, in terms of classical conditioning, ADHD children are equally responsive to signals related to punishment as controls.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health