Photo of Sarah L. Karalunas, Ph.D.

Sarah L. Karalunas Ph.D.

Increasing numbers of children and adults are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), yet its diagnosis is controversial and its treatment only addresses symptoms, without resolving the disorder. Dr. Karalunas’ research takes a multi-method approach to characterizing the basic cognitive and psychological processes contributing to childhood ADHD and to understanding how these processes differ between individuals with the disorder. This includes work to clarifying the bases of neurocognitive deficits commonly associated with ADHD, as well as research focused on identifying novel subtypes of ADHD. The long-term implications of this work include improved clinical assessment and potential for treatment matching, as well as identification of biological mechanisms.

Areas of interest

  • ADHD
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Cognitive and emotional development
  • Individual differences
  • Computational cognitive models
  • Neurophysiological methods


  • B.A., Hamilton College, Clinton New York 2004
  • M.S., Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 2009
  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 2011
  • Residency:

    • Internship: child neuropsychology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2010-2011
  • Fellowship:

    • NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Sciences University, 2011-2014

Honors and awards

  • 2016-2020 Principal Investigator, NIH K23 MH108656-01, “Neurophysiological mechanisms of cognitive and emotional control in ADHD”
  • 2015-2018 Co-Investigator (PI: Simpson), NIH R44 MH099709-03, “Neurophysiological Attention Test (NAT) for Objective Assessment of ADHD”
  • 2014-2019 Co-Investigator (PI: Nigg), NIH 2R01 MH05910512, “ADHD heterogeneity, mechanisms, and risk profile”

Memberships and associations

  • Association for Psychological Science


  • "Individual differences in functional brain connectivity predict temporal discounting preference in the transition to adolescence." Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience  In: , Vol. 34, 01.11.2018, p. 101-113.
  • "Subtyping cognitive profiles in Autism Spectrum Disorder using a Functional Random Forest algorithm." NeuroImage  In: , Vol. 172, 15.05.2018, p. 674-688.
  • "Notice of retraction and Replacement. Karalunas et al. Subtyping attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder using temperament dimensions : Toward biologically based nosologic criteria. JAMA P sychiatry. 2014; 71(9):1015-1024." JAMA Psychiatry  In: , Vol. 75, No. 4, 01.04.2018, p. 408-409.
  • "Working Memory and Vigilance as Multivariate Endophenotypes Related to Common Genetic Risk for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry  In: , Vol. 57, No. 3, 01.03.2018, p. 175-182.
  • "Overlapping and Distinct Cognitive Impairments in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity and Autism Spectrum Disorder without Intellectual Disability." Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology  In: , 15.02.2018, p. 1-12.
  • "Do We Need an Irritable Subtype of ADHD? Replication and Extension of a Promising Temperament Profile Approach to ADHD Subtyping." Psychological Assessment  In: , 01.01.2018.
  • "Working Memory Mediates Increased Negative Affect and Suicidal Ideation in Childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder." Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment  In: , 13.11.2017, p. 1-14.
  • "Heterogeneity in development of aspects of working memory predicts longitudinal attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptom change." Journal of Abnormal Psychology  In: , Vol. 126, No. 6, 01.08.2017, p. 774-792.
  • "The relationship between early and late event-related potentials and temperament in adolescents with and without ADHD." PLoS One  In: , Vol. 12, No. 7, e0180627, 01.07.2017.
  • "Transactional relations between caregiving stress, executive functioning, and problem behavior from early childhood to early adolescence." Development and Psychopathology  In: , Vol. 28, No. 3, 01.08.2016, p. 743-756.
  • "Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder developmental trajectories related to parental expressed emotion." Journal of Abnormal Psychology  In: , Vol. 125, No. 2, 01.02.2016, p. 182-195.
  • "Implications of ongoing neural development for the measurement of the error-related negativity in childhood." Developmental Science  In: , Vol. 18, No. 3, 01.05.2015, p. 452-468.
  • "Comparing hyperbolic, delay-amount sensitivity and present-bias models of delay discounting." Behavioural Processes  In: , Vol. 114, No. 1, 2015, p. 52-62.
  • "Structural and functional connectivity of the human brain in autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder : A rich club-organization study." Human Brain Mapping  In: , Vol. 35, No. 12, 01.12.2014, p. 6032-6048.
  • "Subtyping attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder using temperament dimensions : Toward biologically based nosologic criteria." JAMA Psychiatry  In: , Vol. 71, No. 9, 01.09.2014, p. 1015-1024.
  • "Annual research review : Reaction time variability in ADHD and autism spectrum disorders: Measurement and mechanisms of a proposed trans-diagnostic phenotype." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines  In: , Vol. 55, No. 6, 2014, p. 685-710.
  • "Integrating impairments in reaction time and executive function using a diffusion model framework." Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology  In: , Vol. 41, No. 5, 07.2013, p. 837-850.
  • "Is reaction time variability in ADHD mainly at low frequencies?" Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines  In: , Vol. 54, No. 5, 05.2013, p. 536-544.
  • "Decomposing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-related effects in response speed and variability." Neuropsychology  In: , Vol. 26, No. 6, 2012, p. 684-694.
  • "Evaluating vigilance deficits in ADHD : A meta-analysis of CPT performance." Journal of Abnormal Psychology  In: , Vol. 121, No. 2, 2012, p. 360-371.
  • "Examining Relationships Between Executive Functioning and Delay Aversion in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology  In: , Vol. 40, No. 6, 11.2011, p. 837-847.
  • "Development of implicit and explicit category learning." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology  In: , Vol. 109, No. 3, 07.2011, p. 321-335.
  • "Working Memory Demands Impair Skill Acquisition in Children With ADHD." Journal of Abnormal Psychology  In: , Vol. 119, No. 1, 02.2010, p. 174-185.
  • "Spatial summation in the tactile sensory system : Probability summation and neural integration." Somatosensory and Motor Research  In: , Vol. 22, No. 4, 12.2005, p. 255-268.

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