Teens with strong working memory better at avoiding early drug experimentation

A new study has revealed that adolescents with strong working memory are better equipped to escape early drug experimentation without progressing into substance abuse issues.

ANI| Last Updated: Oct 05, 2014, 12:59 PM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that adolescents with strong working memory are better equipped to escape early drug experimentation without progressing into substance abuse issues.

According to the study by University of Oregon, impulsive adolescents who lack focus are more likely to face substance-abuse issues.

Atika Khurana, a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services, most important in the picture is executive attention, a component of working memory that involves a person's ability to focus on a task and ignore distractions while processing relevant goal-oriented information.

The researchers said that not all forms of early drug use are problematic and there could be some individuals who start early, experiment and then stop. And there are some who could start early and go on into a progressive trajectory of continued drug use.

The study found is that if teens are performing poorly on working memory tasks that tap into executive attention, they are more likely to engage in impulsive drug-use behaviors and suggests new approaches for early intervention since weaknesses in executive functioning often underlie self-control issues in children as young as 3 years old.