Examining Working Memory and Forgetfulness Through Serial Position Curves



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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-Inattentive) is broadly thought to involve deficits in executive functioning. Difficulties maintaining a mastery of one’s physical environment (e.g., frequently losing personal items in public spaces or one’s home) and struggles with daily mental orientation (e.g., remembering one’s schedule or maintaining a mental checklist) are common symptoms of ADHD-Inattentiveness. Taken together, these symptoms describe the general concept of forgetfulness. However, minimal research examining the specific etiology of this forgetfulness exists.

The present study sought to examine the relationship between working memory and experiences of inattentive forgetfulness through serial position curves. To accomplish this, participants completed a working memory task modeled after the Baddeley et al. (1984) articulatory loop study, followed by a continuous performance task adapted from the Conners CPT 3 for ADHD assessment. Finally, participants completed a self-report survey regarding their personal experiences with forgetfulness and inattention. Participant performance on the working memory task was used to create serial position curves. Ultimately, negligible differences between the serial position curves of attentive and inattentive groups emerged. As such, the present study suggests that isolated working memory cannot solely account for experiences with inattentive forgetfulness.



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