Purdue University Graduate School
Exploring the Capability Model of Frontal Alpha Asymmetry in ADHD (FINAL).pdf (527.47 kB)

Exploring the Capability Model of Frontal Alpha Asymmetry in ADHD

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posted on 2024-04-15, 18:08 authored by McKenzie FiguracionMcKenzie Figuracion

Abstract: Atypical frontal alpha asymmetry is the difference in EEG-measured alpha-band power between right and left hemispheres, and patterns of lateralization are thought to reflect motivational direction (approach/withdrawal) and affective processing. Increased rightward frontal alpha asymmetry is associated with tendency toward approach-related behavior often displayed in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), though findings have been inconsistent. While differences in results may be partially accounted for by within-diagnosis heterogeneity, growing evidence suggests individual response tendency and emotional salience of a situation may influence one another. Investigating the potential interactions between trait and state measured variables may therefore clarify lateralization patterns in ADHD. The current study measured frontal alpha asymmetry in a well-characterized sample of school-aged children with and without ADHD. EEG during standard resting-state and emotional passive-viewing tasks were recorded from 220 children (nADHD = 97). A semi-structured clinical interview and standardized rating scales were collected to assign DSM-5 diagnoses and temperament group belonging. Parent measures included the behaviorally-rated Temperament in Middle Childhood Questionnaire (TMCQ). Latent profile analysis within the ADHD group revealed two temperament subgroups: emotionally regulated and emotionally dysregulated (high anger and sadness). EEG assessment suggests children broadly produced a more rightward asymmetry while in resting state compared to a task-based condition, though show no notable differences between neutral and negative emotional task conditions. ADHD diagnostic status, temperament group, and sex assigned at birth did not impact patterns of asymmetry. Results emphasize measurement differences in frontal alpha asymmetry between lab-based tasks and further highlight the importance of state influences on alpha lateralization.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Psychological Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Sarah Karalunas

Additional Committee Member 2

Daniel Foti

Additional Committee Member 3

Sydney Trask

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