Cognitive Inhibition and Working Memory in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Paul E. Engelhardt, Joel T. Nigg, Laurie A. Carr, Fernanda Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Studies of cognitive control in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have emphasized the ability to suppress motor responses (i.e., behavioral inhibition) rather than the ability to actively suppress prepotent mental representations (i.e., cognitive inhibition). Further, working memory deficits are suspected in ADHD, yet their distinction from cognitive inhibition is unclear. Two hundred and eighty-eight adolescent and adult participants, 115 of whom met criteria for ADHD and 173 of whom were for non-ADHD comparison, completed a sentence processing task that required the suppression of an incorrect interpretation and a working memory task. The results failed to support cognitive inhibition problems in ADHD. Moreover, the ability to reanalyze sentences with a temporary misinterpretation was at least partially related to working memory performance. The results challenge a unitary inhibition problem in ADHD and suggest inhibition problems do not extend to cognitive suppression in this age range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-605
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • cognitive inhibition
  • interference control
  • syntactic ambiguity resolution
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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