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Description: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly prevalent cognitive disorder associated with suboptimal outcomes throughout the lifespan. Extant work suggests that ADHD-related deficits in task performance may be magnified under high cognitive load and minimized under high perceptual load, but these effects have yet to be systematically examined, and the neural mechanisms that undergird these effects are as yet unknown. Herein, we report results from three experiments investigating how performance in ADHD is modulated by cognitive load and perceptual load during a naturalistic task. Results indicate that cognitive load and perceptual load influence task performance, reaction time variability (RTV), and brain network topology in an ADHD-specific fashion. Increasing cognitive load resulted in reduced performance, greater RTV, and reduced brain network efficiency in individuals with ADHD. In contrast, increased perceptual load led to greater performance, reduced RTV, and greater brain network efficiency in ADHD. These results provide converging evidence that brain network efficiency and intra-individual variability in ADHD are modulated by both cognitive and perceptual load during naturalistic task performance.


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