It is widely assumed that cognitive processes studied in fMRI are equivalent to cognitive processes engaged in the same experimental paradigms in typical behavioral lab settings. Yet very few studies examined this common assumption, and the results have been equivocal. In the current study we directly tested the effects of fMRI environment on sustained attention and response inhibition, using a Go/No-go task, among participants with (n = 42) and without (n = 21) attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Participants with ADHD are characterized by deficits in these cognitive functions and may be particularly susceptible to environmental effects on attention. We found a substantial slowing of reaction time in the scanner for all participants, and a trend for enhanced sustained attention, particularly in ADHD participants with poor performance. We also report limited stability of individual differences in scores obtained in the lab and in the scanner. These findings call for cautious interpretation of neuroimaging task-related results, especially those obtained in clinical populations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was funded by grant no. 3–7331 from the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Health and grant no. 1595/11 from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF).
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Reaction times
- Response inhibition
- Sustained attention