Research

Cognition

About Our Research

Our research examines potential core deficits or underlying features of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by re-examining existing models (e.g., behavioral inhibition), and contributing to the development and refinement of more recent models (e.g., working memory). Findings from this line of research challenge prevailing views concerning the central role of behavioral inhibition deficits in ADHD, provide support for working memory as the primary deficit of the disorder, and form a framework for the eventual development of novel treatment modalities.


Working Memory and Why it is Important

Working memory is the cognitive system that allows for the temporary storage and manipulation of information required to guide behavior. Working memory’s primary functions include focusing attention, dividing attention among concurrent tasks, and the temporary storage, rehearsal, and mental manipulation of verbal and visual information. Strong evidence from previous studies suggests that working memory deficits in children with ADHD account for associated hyperactivity, attention problems, inhibition difficulties, and social difficulties. Consequently, a better understanding of working memory’s role in ADHD deficits may eventually lead to the development of improved treatment strategies.

 

Cutting Edge Technology

The Center for Attention and Behavior uses state of the art, cutting edge technology to examine ADHD and working memory. Actigraph motion monitors (small devices that resemble watches and are worn on the wrist and ankles) provide an objective measure of each child’s activity during experimental tasks. The Noldus Observer allows for accurate behavioral coding of live or previously recorded digital video. Experiments are conducted on a high speed computer with a touch screen monitor, while the lab “control/observation room” is equipped with additional high speed computers that are available to graduate students.    

© Matt Alderson 2014