Does “short attention span” equal “higher capacity for creativity”?

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Eckerd College also found that ADHD individuals preferred different thinking styles. They like generating ideas, but are not good about completing the tasks.

Lead author Holly White, an assistant professor of psychology at Eckerd, and Priti Shah, an associate professor at U-M, replicated their study from 2006, and those results found that ADHD individuals show better performance on standardized creativity tests.

ADHD is neuropsychological disorder that involves inattentiveness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Most individuals get the disorder in childhood and it persists into adulthood. It has impaired the person’s ability to adjust academically and socially.

Sixty college students (half with ADHD) completed a questionnaire about their level of achievement regarding creativity in 10 areas, such as humor, music, visual arts, culinary arts, invention and writing. Those with ADHD scored higher than individuals who didn’t have the disorder.

Another questionnaire assessed the respondents’ preferred creative style: clarifiers, who define and structure the problem; ideators, who like to generate ideas; developers, who elaborate or refine ideas and solutions; and implementers, who incorporate a refined idea into a final product or solution.

Non-ADHD participants preferred problem clarification and idea development. ADHD individuals liked the ideator style. Knowing the creative style can help identify careers suited to the strengths and weaknesses of individuals with ADHD, the researchers said.

If only our schools read and recognize this to help these kids rather than drugging them … I think I know why they drug the children. The children on these drugs tend to be calmer and drowsy and are easier to handle. Our society tends to optimize to the mean and any deviation from that is considered abnormal. This means automatically the teachers and care takers need to bring the outlier kids back to the norm. What’s easier than giving the medication?

Instead, it would cost so much less to recognize the unique capabilities of children with disorders like ADHD, Autism etc. so that they can use them, receive a positive feedback and grow up to be happier members of the society.

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