School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Bernadette Benson

Phone: (+61 4) 5063 0486
Fax: (+61 8) 6488 1006

Start date

Jun 2008

Submission date

Jun 2013

Curriculum vitae

Bernadette Benson CV
[doc, 50.73 kb]
Updated 14 Sep 2012

Bernadette Benson

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Do children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder have atypical short-term memory processes?


The main purpose of this research is to further understanding of the means by which children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) utilise short-term memory. Poor working memory has been implicated in both ASD and AD/HD. Some research has suggested limitations in the ability of persons with ASD to use inner speech and has led to theories of possible compensatory visuospatial skills in this population. Research on inner speech or sub-vocal rehearsal in children with AD/HD has tended to focus on the relationship of inner speech to behavioural regulation (e.g., the amount and type of self-directed speech that occurs during problem-solving). Despite the high comorbidity of the two disorders (with many estimates between 30 and 50%) and suggestions of genetic links between the two, there is not yet an extensive literature identifying associations in cognition.

Why my research is important

This research will extend the existing literature for two highly comorbid disorders in an important area related to learning and cognition. Understanding the processing differences in children with ASD and AD/HD could have important social and economic benefits. The relevance of short-term memory processes to learning situations ranges widely from such activities as those found in the regular classroom setting or at a sports lesson. Approaches to instruction for these children may be impacted by such research. In addition, any findings of dissociable differences between short-term memory processes in ASD and AD/HD might provide important information for those conducting research in complementary fields such as genetics and metabolics.


  • The University of Western Australia Top-Up Scholarship, 2009-2012,
  • Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) 2008-2012,
  • University Postgraduate Award (International Students) 2008-2012


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