Adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may have trouble balancing their checkbook, but are more creative, U.S. researchers say.
Holly White of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Priti Shah of the University of Michigan gave 60 college students — half of them with ADHD — a series of tests measuring creativity across 10 domains.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, found those in the ADHD group scored higher across the board.
They also showed more of a preference for brainstorming and generating ideas than the non-ADHD group, which preferred refining and clarifying ideas, the researchers said.
“For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas,” White said in a statement. “Not being completely focused on a task lets the mind make associations that might not have happened otherwise.”
The study is a follow-up of one in 2006, which focused on laboratory measures of creativity and found that ADHD individuals show better performance on tests of creative divergent thinking, White said.
“We didn’t know if that would translate into real-life achievement,” Shah said. “The current study suggests that it does.”