Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Psychology


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder with early childhood onset and long-lasting symptoms. The resting-state electroencephalogram (RS-EEG), which directly measures central nervous system activity, is considered as a potential tool to diagnose AD/HD. However, its diagnostic value is recently in debate. The first aim of this thesis was to explore if the theta-to-beta ratio (TBR) can distinguish AD/HD from controls (Study 1) and examine a methodological consideration that may influence the group comparison (Study 2). Moreover, a prognostic perspective of using RS-EEG in AD/HD was provided in recent studies. Based on the evidence that resting brain activity contributes to individual task-related performance, study 1 also preliminarily explored the relationship between RS-EEG and executive functions (EF), to examine if RS-EEG can be in a prognostic manner to predict EF performance. Following this perspective, two subsequent studies were conducted to extend the preliminary findings: Study 3 examined the association between TBR and inhibitory functions, and Study 4 used RS-EEG measures from different resting states as a whole to explore the role of RS-EEG measures in common EF and day-to-day EF. The third aim was encouraged by the need of non-pharmacological inventions in children with AD/HD. As RS-EEG and EF based inventions show promising results, Study 5 preliminarily compared three invention protocols (cognitive training, neurofeedback training, and combined training) in terms of transfer effects.

Overall, this thesis found that RS-EEG measures derived from spectral power analysis such as TBR may not reliably diagnose children with AD/HD. Rather, RS-EEG measures are related to different types of EFs, which suggests that RS-EEG may be served as prognostic indicators to predict EF performance. Together, these results contribute to the discussion about the clinical value of RS-EEG in children with AD/HD. Also, the results lead to methodological considerations of detecting AD/HD versus control differences and the suggestion for future AD/HD models. In addition, as the preliminary intervention study showed the narrow transfer effects of cognitive and neurofeedback training, this thesis supports that these nonpharmacological interventions may be served as an adjunct treatment; meanwhile, some suggestions are offered to optimise training protocols.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.