Priming sentence production in adolescents and adults with attention-deficit/hyper-activity disorder

Paul E. Engelhardt, Fernanda Ferreira, Joel T. Nigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Theoretical accounts of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) posit a prominent role for problems in response inhibition (Nigg 2006). A key avenue for impulsivity in children with ADHD is inappropriate language expression. In this study, we sought to determine whether poor inhibitory control affects language production in adolescents and adults with ADHD. One hundred and ninety-five participants (13-35 years old; 65% male) were presented with two pictures and a verb, and their task was to form a sentence. If deficits in response inhibition affect language production, then participants with ADHD should be more likely than non-ADHD controls to begin speaking before having formulated a plan that will allow a grammatical continuation. The results showed that the ADHD-combined subtype, in particular, was more likely to produce an ungrammatical sequence. Effects were not moderated by age or gender. These data suggest that response suppression deficits in ADHD adversely affect the basic processes of sentence formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1006
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • Conceptual accessibility
  • Grammatical encoding
  • Language production
  • Response inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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