The effects of solvent exposure on working memory

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Clinical Psychology

First Committee Member

Phil McCabe - Committee Chair


The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects of chronic solvent exposure on working memory (WM). Prior research has established that solvent exposure affects cognitive abilities including attention and short-term memory. This research was conducted to establish potential deficits in executive system dysfunction and to improve assessment and diagnosis of toxic encephalopathy. This research confirmed that patients with solvent exposure have deficits in immediate attention and demonstrated these patients also have deficits in executive functions used in WM. These findings demonstrated through WM tasks that the executive system deficits are apparent in the increased error rates as load increases and in the patients' failure to apply semantic organization to assist in performance. Finally, it found that there was not a difference in visual deficits over verbal ones in the patients with solvent exposure. These findings further characterize the cognitive effects of chronic solvent exposure to include executive system dysfunction. They also support the clinical assessment of WM and improve the design of treatment plans to include mnemonic techniques and organizational strategies for patients with solvent exposure.


Psychology, Clinical; Psychology, Cognitive

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