Doctoral thesis

Attention-based maintenance in the working memory of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder


  • Fribourg, Switzerland, 2022

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Thèse: Université de Fribourg (Suisse), 2022

English Working memory is the cognitive system dedicated to the temporary storage and processing of information to accomplish goal-directed behaviour. Its functioning is closely intertwined with the functioning of attention, a cognitive resource used by typically developing individuals to boost memory representations held in working memory and maintain information therein. Rare studies in the literature investigated the use of attention-based maintenance in working memory by clinical populations suffering from working memory alterations, such as children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The clinical literature has for long reported that ADHD is characterized by impairments in working memory functioning, yet mechanistic accounts of these deficits lack in the literature. In this thesis, we propose an experimental approach to identify the locus of the working memory deficits in ADHD. Through a series of three experiments, we investigated if children and adolescents (10 to 16 years) diagnosed with this disorder can orient attention and use it to refresh items during classical working memory tasks. Our results showed evidence suggesting that these two mechanisms of working memory functioning are intact in this population. We discuss our results according to the theoretical frameworks of the time-based resource-sharing model of working memory (TBRS) (Barrouillet et al., 2004; Barrouillet & Camos, 2015, 2021), and the working memory model of ADHD (Rapport, Chung, et al., 2001; Rapport, Kofler et al., 2008; Alderson et al., 2010).
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
  • English
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