Theory of Mind in ADHD. A Proposal to Improve Working Memory through the Stimulation of the Theory of Mind.

Theory of Mind in ADHD. A Proposal to Improve Working Memory through the Stimulation of the Theory of Mind.

Lavigne R, González-Cuenca A, Romero-González M, Sánchez M.

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Dec 11;17(24):9286.

doi: 10.3390/ijerph17249286.


Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: It makes sense that being able to hold thoughts in mind, use language, and take another person’s perspective would be intertwined – deficits in any one of these functions would compromise the others.   Whether improvement in one would lead to improvement in the others is an interesting question.



The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between Theory of Mind (ToM), Working Memory (WM), and Verbal Comprehension (VC). Performance of these variables was evaluated in 44 elementary students (6-12 years) diagnosed with ADHD. Their performance in all variables was collected through the Neuropsychological Battery (NEPSY-II) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children IV.

The results showed that fifty percent of the participants were below the 25th percentile in ToM and that this low performance was not related to age. In addition, analyses showed statistically significant relationships between WM, VC, and ToM. Analysis of the effect of WM and VC on ToM showed that only WM explained the variance in participant performance in ToM.

These results led us to raise the need to include ToM among the skills to be stimulated in programs for the treatment of ADHD, accompanying other skills related to social adaptation that are usually included in such programs. Likewise, considering that ToM implies putting into practice skills such as considering different points of view, attending to relevant aspects of the context, making decisions, inferring mental states, and predicting behaviors, we believe that through the stimulation of ToM, WM would also be stimulated.

* Les résumés scientifiques (abstracts) sont sélectionnés pour leur pertinence clinique par Dre. Margaret Weiss, Directrice de la recherche clinique, pédopsychiatrie, Cambridge Health Alliance, Université Harvard. Ses commentaires reflètent sa propre opinion. Ils ne sont ni approuvés par la CADDRA, ni nécessairement représentatifs de celle-ci.


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