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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Joe Elliott

Holmes, J., Gathercole, S.E., Place, M., Dunning, D.L., Hilton, K.L. & Elliott, J.G. (2010). Working memory deficits can be overcome: Impacts of training and medication on working memory in children with ADHD. Applied Cognitive Psychology 24(6): 827-836.

Author(s) from Durham


This study evaluated the impact of two interventions—a training program and stimulant medication—on working memory (WM) function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Twenty-five children aged between 8 and 11 years participated in training that taxed WM skills to the limit for a minimum of 20 days, and completed other assessments of WM and IQ before and after training, and with and without prescribed drug treatment. While medication significantly improved visuo-spatial memory performance, training led to substantial gains in all components of WM across untrained tasks. Training gains associated with the central executive persisted over a 6-month period. IQ scores were unaffected by either intervention. These findings indicate that the WM impairments in children with ADHD can be differentially ameliorated by training and by stimulant medication.