ADHD and Creativity

There has been some dispute as to whether there is a direct link between ADHD and creativity.

Those of us who have ADHD know it is true. Some doctors who treat ADHD believe that there is nothing but negativity associated with ADHD. Thankfully, they are wrong- and here is some supporting evidence. I will add links as I gather them.

“Creative Style and Achievement in Adults with ADHD”

White, H. and Shah,P.
Personality and individual differences 50 no 5 (2011) 673-77

Previous research has suggested that adults with ADHD perform better on some measures of creativity than non-ADHD adults (White & Shah, 2006). The present study replicated previous findings using a standardized measure of creativity (the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults, Goff & Torrance, 2002) and extended previous research by investigating real-world creative achievement among adults with ADHD. Results indicated that adults with ADHD showed higher levels of original creative thinking on the verbal task of the ATTA and higher levels of real-world creative achievement, compared to adults without ADHD. In addition, comparison of creative styles using the FourSight Thinking Profile (Puccio, 2002) found that preference for idea generation was higher among ADHD participants, whereas preference for problem clarification and idea development was greater among non-ADHD participants. These findings have implications for real-world application of the creative styles of adults with and without ADHD.


Students With and Without Characteristics of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

Lifting the Mask

Gifted Child Quarterly
57(4) 234–246
© 2013 National Association for Gifted Children

There have been some behavioral indicators and some types of task performance that suggest greater creativity in students with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). This evidence would appear counterintuitive given that lower working memory (i.e., holding information in mind for novel recombinations) has often been documented in students with ADHD. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess working memory and creativity in two groups of gifted students (i.e., with characteristics of ADHD, n = 17, and without ADHD characteristics, n = 20), who were equivalent in fluid intelligence. Significant differences were found indicating that gifted students with ADHD characteristics had not only poorer working memory but also significantly greater creativity than those gifted students without these characteristics. These results were discussed in terms of creative potential, which could serve as an identifier and as a pathway to instruction.



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