Processing of Emotional Information in Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Elsa G Shapiro, Steven J. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


A possible etiological factor for the social disability described in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a deficit in the ability to accurately evaluate emotional stimuli. Children with ADHD were compared to normal controls on a battery of emotional processing. This battery, the Minnesota Tests of Affective Processing (MNTAP), measures face perception and recognition of affective stimuli as conveyed via facial expression, language, and speech prosody. Overall, children with ADHD were found to be no different from normal children in their ability to process emotional cues. A subgroup of younger children with ADHD were found to have modest difficulties on a test of decoding facial affective stimuli. Significant differences were found between ADHD and normal control groups on those tasks requiring complex auditory processing and extensive use of working memory. Additional analyses found significant effects on affective processing for children with nonverbal impairment. We concluded that the social impairment observed in children with ADHD is not principally due to deficits in the processing of emotional cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-224
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993


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