M.Sc. Luísa Superbia-Guimarães, Prof. Dr. Valérie Camos
(Département de Psychologie, Université de Fribourg)
Working memory (WM) is the ability to maintain and process information during short-term delays in order to achieve an ongoing task. The time-based resource-sharing (TBRS) model of WM (Barrouillet & Camos, 2015, 2021) postulates that the sequential switching of attention between maintaining items and processing information is a core mechanism of WM. This mechanism is called attentional refreshing and its use has been demonstrated in typically developing children from age 7 to elderly people (Barrouillet et al., 2009; Camos & Barrouillet, 2011; Loaiza & McCabe, 2012), but less is known about how or if clinical groups can perform it. Children and adolescents with the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) classically present bad performance in WM tasks, making them a viable population to generalize findings on the use of attentional refreshing and its role in WM development. Here we report three experiments designed to tackle the use of attention-based maintenance strategies by patients with ADHD during classical WM experimental paradigms (n=12, ages between 10 and 16 years). Our main hypothesis is that participants with ADHD perform attentional refreshing to a lesser extent than their typically developing peers. Data collection is under way. So far, partial results show that 1) individuals with ADHD are subject to the cognitive load effect in a complex span task, and 2) they benefit from cues biasing attentional orienting to boost their memory in a colour recognition task. The theoretical impacts on WM models and on the understanding of this neurodevelopmental disorder are discussed.