A new study has found that adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder enjoy more creative achievement than those who don't have the disorder.
"For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas," said 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," said Shah.
"The current study suggests that it does," added Shah.
The study has been published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences.