Journal of Neuropsychology

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Volume 11 Issue 3 (September 2017), Pages 305-457

Working memory – not processing speed – mediates fluid intelligence deficits associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms (pages 362-377)

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychological condition characterized by inattention and hyperactivity. Cognitive deficits are commonly observed in ADHD patients, including impaired working memory, processing speed, and fluid intelligence, the three of which are theorized to be closely associated with one another. In this study, we aimed to determine if decreased fluid intelligence was associated with ADHD, and was mediated by deficits in working memory and processing speed. This study tested 142 young adults from the general population on a range of working memory, processing speed, and fluid intelligence tasks, and an ADHD self‐report symptoms questionnaire. Results showed that total and hyperactive ADHD symptoms correlated significantly and negatively with fluid intelligence, but this association was fully mediated by working memory. However, inattentive symptoms were not associated with fluid intelligence. Additionally, processing speed was not associated with ADHD symptoms at all, and was not uniquely predictive of fluid intelligence. The results provide implications for working memory training programs for ADHD patients, and highlight potential differences between the neuropsychological profiles of ADHD subtypes.

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