Vulnerability to the irrelevant speech effect in adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Hodgetts, Helen M.
Lafleur, Martin F.
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Objective: An ecologically valid adaptation of the irrelevant sound effect paradigm was employed to examine the relative roles of short-term memory, selective attention, and sustained attention in ADHD. Method: In all, 32 adults with ADHD and 32 control participants completed a serial recall task in silence or while ignoring irrelevant background sound. Results: Serial recall performance in adults with ADHD was reduced relative to controls in both conditions. The degree of interference due to irrelevant sound was greater for adults with ADHD. Furthermore, a positive correlation was observed between task performance under conditions of irrelevant sound and the extent of attentional problems reported by patients on a clinical symptom scale. Conclusion: The results demonstrate that adults with ADHD exhibit impaired short-term memory and a low resistance to distraction; however, their capacity for sustained attention is preserved as the impact of irrelevant sound diminished over the course of the task.
Journal of Attention Disorders
This article was published in Journal of Attention Disorders on26 July 2013 (online) and is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1087054713492563. The author's post print is made available in this repository.
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