Parents who believe that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder makes their kids more creative got a little more scientific support recently.
A study has found that ADHD adults enjoyed more creative achievement than non ADHD adults. According to statistics, ADHD adults make up 4.1% of the U.S. adult population.
The study is a follow-up to one done in 2006, which focused on laboratory measures of creativity and found that ADHD adults show better performance on tests of creative divergent thinking. “We didn’t know if that would translate into real-life achievement,” says study author Priti Shah. “The current study suggests that it does.”
Results indicated that ADHD adults showed higher levels of original creative thinking on the verbal task of the ATTA (using a standardized measure of creativity) and higher levels of real-world creative achievement, compared to adults without ADHD.
“For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas,” says Holly White, co-author of the paper. “Not being completely focused on a task lets the mind make associations that might not have happened otherwise.”
White and Shah gave 60 college students – half of them with ADHD – a series of tests measuring creativity across 10 domains. The ADHD group scored higher across the board. The ADHD group showed more of a preference for brainstorming and generating ideas than the non-ADHD group, which preferred refining and clarifying ideas.
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