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Children with low working memory and children with ADHD: same or different?

Holmes, J.; Hilton, K.A.; Place, M.; Alloway, T.P.; Elliott, J.G.; Gathercole, S.E.

Children with low working memory and children with ADHD: same or different? Thumbnail


J. Holmes

K.A. Hilton

M. Place

T.P. Alloway

S.E. Gathercole


The purpose of this study was to compare working memory (WM), executive function, academic ability, and problem classroom behaviors in children aged 8–11 years who were either identified via routine screening as having low WM, or had been diagnosed with ADHD. Standardized assessments of WM, executive function and reading and mathematics were administered to 83 children with ADHD, 50 children with low WM and 50 typically developing children. Teachers rated problem behaviors on checklists measuring attention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, oppositional behavior, and difficulties associated with executive function in the classroom. The ADHD and low WM groups had highly similar WM and executive function profiles, but were distinguished in two key respects: children with ADHD had higher levels of rated and observed impulsive behavior, and children with low WM had slower response times. Possible mechanisms for these common and distinct deficits are discussed.


Holmes, J., Hilton, K., Place, M., Alloway, T., Elliott, J., & Gathercole, S. (2014). Children with low working memory and children with ADHD: same or different?. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, Article 976.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 16, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 9, 2014
Publication Date Dec 9, 2014
Deposit Date Dec 18, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2016
Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Article Number 976
Keywords ADHD, Working memory, Executive function, Developmental disorders, Intervention.


Published Journal Article (519 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2014 Holmes, Hilton, Place, Alloway, Elliott and Gathercole. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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