Research has revealed a context-dependent memory effect in which stimuli tested in the same context that they were encoded in tend to be remembered better than stimuli tested in a different context. The impairments of those with ADHD suggest that the restoration of context may be less beneficial for these individuals. The present study examined context-dependent memory effects among individuals with high and low levels of ADHD symptomatology. It was expected that those with higher ADHD symptomatology would benefit less from the restoration of context compared to those with low ADHD symptomatology. Participants were presented with a series of words on colored backgrounds and later completed a recognition memory test where words were presented on the same background or a new white background. The results revealed a significant effect of context on items remembered and a significantly higher number of false alarms for those with high ADHD symptomatology. There was no interaction. While those with higher ADHD symptomatology appeared to benefit less from context reinstatement, this effect did not reach significance.
Keywords: context-dependent memory, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, background context