Department or Program



Attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD) is a disorder classified by behaviors of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. When put in a task that requires selective attention, many neurotypical individuals are slower to respond to previously ignored information–a phenomenon called negative priming–wherein that pattern is not always apparent in individuals with ADHD. One explanation for negative priming is that it is rooted in memory retrieval, which proposes that individuals with ADHD are less likely to retrieve information about items that they have previously ignored. If individuals with ADHD exhibit less negative priming because they are less likely to retrieve prior information, then they may also exhibit reduced proactive interference. Proactive interference is observed in recall tasks when old information interferes with current recall. It was predicted that those with ADHD would be less affected by old information and therefore exhibit atypical proactive interference, as compared to neurotypical individuals. In the current study, ADHD was assessed using the CAARS S:S (in Bates College participants) and ASRS (in Amazon Mechanical Turk participants) scales. Proactive interference, measured using a Brown-Peterson task, was intact among those with ADHD. In a second experiment, negative priming, assessed using a flanker task, suggested that negative priming may be absent in individuals with ADHD, though the findings remain inscrutable. This may be indicative of intact memory retrieval in those with ADHD, and further attribute negative priming effects to underlying mechanisms unassociated with memory retrieval.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Mathis, Katherine

Second Advisor

Kahan, Todd

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf

Open Access

Available to all.