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New evidence that the “chaotic mind” of ADHD brings creative advantages

19 October 2018

Focus and concentration, while normally considered beneficial attributes, can stymie creativity – especially the generation of novel ideas.

This has led some to wonder whether people with “leaky attention“, and especially those with ADHD – who have what Holly White, writing recently in the Journal of Creative Behaviour, calls “chaotic minds” – might have a creative advantage when it comes to breaking free from prior examples.

White, who is based at the University of Michigan, has tested this possibility, and though she acknowledges her new study is small, she believes her findings provide some of the first experimental evidence that “ADHD may be advantageous for certain types of creative thinking; specifically, divergent, unconstrained creative cognition.”

White recruited 26 male and female undergrads diagnosed with ADHD and 26 male and female undergrads without ADHD, and asked them to complete two tests of creativity.

Read more in a post from Christian Jarrett on our Research Digest blog.

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