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Memory. 2015;23(8):1264-76. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2014.977921. Epub 2014 Nov 11.

Diminished testing benefits in young adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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a Department of Psychology , Trinity College , Hartford , CT , USA.


Memory retrieval has been shown to enhance the long-term retention of tested material; however, recent research suggests that limiting attention during retrieval can decrease the benefits of testing memory. The present study examined whether testing benefits are reduced in young adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). College students with and without ADHD read three short prose passages, each followed by a free recall test, a restudy period or a distractor task. Two days later participants recalled the passages. Although participants without ADHD did not show a significant benefit of testing over restudying, testing did produce recall benefits relative to not taking a test. These testing benefits were diminished in participants with ADHD, who did not show any advantage of testing over either restudying or no test. The absence of testing benefits in the ADHD group is likely due in part to decreased recall on the initial test. These findings have implications for improving educational practices among individuals with ADHD and also speak to the need to examine individual differences in the effectiveness of testing as a learning strategy.


ADHD; Free recall; Long-term memory; Retrieval; Testing effects

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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