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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Review

What would Karl Popper say? Are current psychological theories of ADHD falsifiable?

Katherine A Johnson1*, Jan R Wiersema2 and Jonna Kuntsi3

Author Affiliations

1 School of Psychology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland

2 Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Gent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Gent, Belgium

3 MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF, UK

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Behavioral and Brain Functions 2009, 5:15  doi:10.1186/1744-9081-5-15

Published: 3 March 2009


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common and highly heritable neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorder. Here, we critically review four major psychological theories of ADHD – the Executive Dysfunction, the State Regulation, the Delay Aversion and the Dynamic Developmental – on their abilities to explain all the symptoms of ADHD, their testability and their openness to falsification. We conclude that theoreticians should focus, to a greater extent than currently practiced, on developing refutable theories of ADHD.