Current Psychology

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 91–101 | Cite as

Cognition at risk: Gestalt/feature-intensive processing, attention deficit, and substance abuse

  • Matthew J. Sharps
  • Jana L. Price-Sharps
  • Sandy Schulte Day
  • Michael A Nunes
  • Amy Boothby Villegas
  • Sandra Mitchell


Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is associated with elevated levels of substance abuse, but the cognitive linkages involved have been little explored. The present study builds upon earlier work showing that more gestalt, as opposed to feature-intensive, styles of processing are conductive to substance abuse, especially in those with ADHD symptoms. The work reported here indicates that a protective factor against substance abuse may lie in relatively efficient heuristic processing, especially synthetic or inferential heuristic processing, but further demonstrates that those with ADHD symptoms tend to have poorer abilities in this regard, even at the subclinical, nondiagnosed level. Results are discussed in terms of the gestalt/featureintensive processing theory of cognition.


Substance Abuse Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Reading Comprehension Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Symptom 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Sharps
    • 1
  • Jana L. Price-Sharps
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sandy Schulte Day
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael A Nunes
    • 1
    • 4
  • Amy Boothby Villegas
    • 1
    • 5
  • Sandra Mitchell
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.California State UniversityFresnoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forensic PsychologyAlliant UniversityFresnoUSA
  3. 3.Chowchilla Women’s PrisonChowchillaUSA
  4. 4.ParlierUSA
  5. 5.Alliant UniversityUSA
  6. 6.University of Colorado School of Health SciencesUSA

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