Poor learning or hyper-exploration? A commentary on Hulsbosch et al. (2023)

Yehuda Pollak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


In an outstanding paper, Hulsbosch et al. (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2023) tested major reinforcement learning theories of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). On a reinforcement learning task, children with ADHD needed more trials to reach the criterion in the learning phase and chose the target less often in the extinction phase. These results only partially support either of the theories and may be interpreted as reflecting a general deficit in learning. Still, distinguishing between learning and decision-making stages suggests that poor performance on reinforcement learning tasks by children with ADHD is accounted for by increased exploration or decreased choice consistency rather than deficient learning.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1641-1642
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.


  • ADHD
  • exploration
  • learning


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