Adults with ADHD typically show reduced performance in visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM) tasks. These limitations have been observed mainly in tasks probing VSWM for low-level visual information. The current study investigated whether these limitations extended to memory for real-world objects, and memory for the spatial context in which they were presented. Sixty-four university students with and without ADHD memorised the form of real-world objects embedded in natural scenes. Following a short delay, participants were probed on a single object in the scene that could change in token or orientation, and that could appear within the original scene or in isolation. Consistent with previous studies, memory for the individual objects was impaired in the ADHD group relative to the control group, demonstrating that this deficit extends to complex real-world objects. Nevertheless, participants in the ADHD group benefited from the reinstatement of the scene during retrieval to the same extent as participants in the control group. This finding suggests that participants in the ADHD group formed and maintained a representation of the spatial context of the scene that aided memory retrieval. Overall, the results support an emerging view that VSWM operates on multiple, possibly independent, representations at different hierarchal levels.
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- Adult ADHD
- natural scenes
- scene memory
- spatial configuration
- visual working memory