Is ADHD Cognitive Psychology?


Vincent White

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While ADHD is typically associated with behavioral psychology, it also has a significant impact on cognitive psychology.

Cognitive Psychology and ADHD

Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. These processes are essential for learning, reasoning, and decision-making. However, individuals with ADHD often struggle with these processes due to difficulties in regulating their attention and behavior.


One of the primary symptoms of ADHD is inattention, which can manifest as difficulty focusing on tasks or following instructions. This can affect cognitive processes such as working memory, which involves holding information in mind for a short period to complete a task. Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty with working memory due to their inability to sustain attention.


Perception refers to how we interpret sensory information from our environment. Individuals with ADHD may have heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli or difficulty filtering out irrelevant information. This can lead to distractibility and difficulties in processing information accurately.


Memory refers to the ability to store and retrieve information. Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty with both short-term and long-term memory due to their impaired attentional control.

Treatment for Cognitive Symptoms of ADHD

While medication and behavioral therapy are widely used for managing the symptoms of ADHD, they also help address cognitive impairments associated with the disorder. Stimulant medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Adderall) have been shown to improve cognitive functions such as working memory and attention.

Behavioral therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) also helps address cognitive symptoms by teaching individuals strategies for managing their attentional control, working memory, and other cognitive processes.


In conclusion, ADHD is not solely a behavioral disorder but also has a significant impact on cognitive processes. Individuals with ADHD may struggle with attention, perception, and memory due to difficulties in regulating their behavior.

However, medication and behavioral therapy can help manage both the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of ADHD. As our understanding of this disorder continues to grow, we can develop more effective treatments that address all aspects of the disorder.