Creativity is an upside to ADHD

Mar 11, 2011

Parents who believe that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder makes their kids more creative got a little more scientific support recently.

A new study in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences found adults with enjoyed more creative achievement than those who didn't have the disorder.

"For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas," says Holly White, assistant professor of cognitive psychology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and 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 Priti Shah at the University of Michigan 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.

The study is a follow-up to one done in 2006, which focused on laboratory measures of creativity and found that ADHD individuals show better performance on tests of creative divergent thinking. "We didn't know if that would translate into real-life achievement," says Shah. "The current study suggests that it does."

Explore further: Women, poor, uninsured face higher risk of psychological distress: CDC

Related Stories

Better ADHD screening is developed

Jul 25, 2006

U.S. researchers say they have improved screening techniques for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder among substance users.

Adult ADHD linked with dopamine levels

Aug 09, 2007

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have a reduced response to the drug Ritalin, U.S. government scientists have found.

US survey: 1 in 10 kids has ADHD, awareness cited

Nov 10, 2010

(AP) -- A government survey says 1 in 10 U.S. children has ADHD, a sizable increase from a few years earlier that researchers think might be explained by growing awareness and better screening.

Recommended for you

The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America

9 hours ago

Article Spotlight features summaries written in collaboration with authors of recently published articles by the Journals Program of the American Psychological Association. The articles are nominated by the editors as noteworthy ...

Demi Lovato gets vocal about mental illness

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Demi Lovato huddled in the back of her tour bus, eyes wet with tears as she watched a horde of fans streaming into the venue where she was about to play.

Acquiring 'perfect' pitch may be possible for some adults

13 hours ago

If you're a musician, this sounds too good to be true: University of Chicago psychologists have been able to train some adults to develop the prized musical ability of absolute pitch, and the training's effects ...

How men and women see each other when online dating

15 hours ago

In the world of online dating, nothing is as it seems. But that doesn't stop many of us from leaping to the wrong conclusions about people. A recent paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.