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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2010 Feb;38(2):149-61. doi: 10.1007/s10802-009-9357-6.

ADHD and working memory: the impact of central executive deficits and exceeding storage/rehearsal capacity on observed inattentive behavior.

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Children's Learning Clinic-IV, Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida, P.O. Box 161390, Orlando, FL 32816, USA.


Inattentive behavior is considered a core and pervasive feature of ADHD; however, an alternative model challenges this premise and hypothesizes a functional relationship between working memory deficits and inattentive behavior. The current study investigated whether inattentive behavior in children with ADHD is functionally related to the domain-general central executive and/or subsidiary storage/rehearsal components of working memory. Objective observations of children's attentive behavior by independent observers were conducted while children with ADHD (n = 15) and typically developing children (n = 14) completed counterbalanced tasks that differentially manipulated central executive, phonological storage/rehearsal, and visuospatial storage/rehearsal demands. Results of latent variable and effect size confidence interval analyses revealed two conditions that completely accounted for the attentive behavior deficits in children with ADHD: (a) placing demands on central executive processing, the effect of which is evident under even low cognitive loads, and (b) exceeding storage/rehearsal capacity, which has similar effects on children with ADHD and typically developing children but occurs at lower cognitive loads for children with ADHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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