Evaluating the Role of Processing Efficiency in Adhd-related Working Memory Deficits

Open Access
Weigard, Alexander Samuel
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 07, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Cynthia L Huang Pollock, Thesis Advisor
  • Bradley Paul Wyble, Thesis Advisor
  • Frank Gerard Hillary, Thesis Advisor
  • working memory
  • adhd
  • diffusion model
  • processing speed
Theoretical models of working memory state that basic processing speed may drive individual differences in this ability. In addition, recent research suggests that working memory deficits in ADHD, a key feature of the disorder, can also be attributed slower processing speed. However, research on this relationship has relied mainly on correlational methods, and thus a causal relationship between speed and working memory ability has not been established. The current study uses a novel working memory paradigm, in which the processing speed of the distractor items can be manipulated within subjects, to determine whether slowing speed reduces working memory recall in children with ADHD and typically developing children. Findings indicate that working memory recall is causally driven by processing speed in both groups, indicating that processing speed is a plausible cause of individual differences in the ability of children and ADHD-related