Increased mirror overflow movements in ADHD are associated with altered EEG alpha/beta band desynchronization

Danielle McAuliffe, Kathryn Hirabayashi, Jack H. Adamek, Yu Luo, Deana Crocetti, Ajay S. Pillai, Yi Zhao, Nathan E. Crone, Stewart H. Mostofsky, Joshua B. Ewen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Children with ADHD show developmentally abnormal levels of mirror overflow—unintentional movements occurring symmetrically opposite of intentional movements. Because mirror overflow correlates with ADHD behavioral symptoms, the study of disinhibition in motor control may shed light on physiologic mechanisms underlying impaired behavioral/cognitive control. This is a case–controlled study of EEG recording from 25 children with ADHD and 25 typically developing (TD) controls performing unilateral sequential finger tapping, with overflow movements measured using electronic goniometers. Consistent with previously published findings, children with ADHD showed increased mirror overflow as compared with TD peers. EEG findings revealed less lateralized alpha modulation (event-related desynchronization; ERD) and decreased magnitude of beta ERD in ADHD; both alpha and beta ERD reflect cortical activation. Moderation analysis revealed a significant association between beta ERD and overflow, independent of diagnosis; and an equivocal (p =.08) effect of diagnosis on the relationship between alpha ERD and overflow, with a significant effect in children with ADHD but not TD children. These results suggest two mechanisms involved with mirror overflow: one reflected in beta ipsilateral to the intentional movement and relevant to both children with ADHD and controls, and the other seemingly more specific to ADHD (alpha, contralateral to movement).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1815-1826
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • EEG
  • moderation analysis
  • motor control
  • sensory-motor rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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