View Full Version : Creativity in ADHD


Kunga Dorji
11-04-14, 11:33 PM
I have hit something of a motherlode here- which puts paid to Russell Barkley's often quoted dismissal of the idea of ADHD being associated with creativity.

Here is the first paper- more to come though.
http://gcq.sagepub.com/content/57/4/234.short



Creativity and Working Memory in Gifted Students With and Without Characteristics of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Lifting the Mask




C. Matthew Fugate (http://gcq.sagepub.com/search?author1=C.+Matthew+Fugate&sortspec=date&submit=Submit)1 (http://gcq.sagepub.com/content/57/4/234.short#aff-1)
Sydney S. Zentall (http://gcq.sagepub.com/search?author1=Sydney+S.+Zentall&sortspec=date&submit=Submit)1 (http://gcq.sagepub.com/content/57/4/234.short#aff-1)
Marcia Gentry (http://gcq.sagepub.com/search?author1=Marcia+Gentry&sortspec=date&submit=Submit)1 (http://gcq.sagepub.com/content/57/4/234.short#aff-1)



1Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA



C. Matthew Fugate, Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University, 100 N. University Street, BRNG 5108A, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA. Email: fugatec@purdue.edu


Abstract

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.



More to come- time to put the idea that ADHD and creativity are not associated to bed.

mildadhd
11-05-14, 02:02 AM
..if we see that what is being transmitted genetically is not ADD or its equally ill-mannered and discombobulating relatives, but sensitivity.

The existence of sensitive people is an advantage for humankind because it is this group that best expresses humanity's creative urges and needs.

Through their instinctual responses the world is best interpreted.

Under normal circumstances, they are artists or artisans, seekers, inventors, shamans, poets, prophets.

There would be valid and powerful evolutionary reasons for the survival of genetic material coding for sensitivity.

It is not diseases that are being inherited but a trait of intrinsic survival value to human beings.

Sensitivity is transmuted into suffering and disorders only when the world is unable to heed the exquisitely tuned physiological and psychic responses of the sensitive individual.


ADD is not a natural state..


-Gabor Mate M.D., "Scattered", Chapter: Emotional Allergies, P 62.


If I consider the effects of chronic emotional distress, especially occurring during the implicit stage of development, impairing the development of a more sensitive young child's BrainMind.

And/or little to no accommodations through out life.

I could understand how suffering from a moderate to severe ADHD impairment may not be considered a gift.


But if the chronic emotional distress was lessened or prevented, especially during the implicit stage of development, and therefore the impairment lessened or prevented, avoiding a more moderate to severe ADHD impairment.

And/or any accommodations provided that may be required through out life.

I could definitely understand how being born with a more sensitive temperament would be considered a gift.


Great find Kunga Dorji!

Thanks!



P

SB_UK
11-05-14, 07:45 AM
Excellent posts

creativity
sensitivity

If we relate creativity to making a model which is completely internally consistent and sensitivity to plucking out bits of the model which don't sit right - then we can connect them.

So - it's sensitivity (which irritates us to the point of distraction) which allows us to prune understanding (mind) and make it consistent.

I'm positive that ADDers wander around all day - with life experience after life experience just plain wondering why it is that human beings behave in such a meaningless, pointless way ALL day till death do them take.

Found out the precise answer from an 8 year old ADDer (who behaves like he's 5) - when asked why he plays 1 tiny section of the game over and over again -
"because it's fun because we make money and can buy nice things"

People simply do whatever they do, over and over again because it pays - and they can buy pretty things (materialism) with their money.

Now - he boasts he's approaching the same basic section of the game for the 100th time so he can buy a fast car.

It's not even real - he has the behaviour of a 5 year old and he's neatly demonstrated why it is that people waste their lives doing NOTHING important AT ALL.

Just because it pays and the addiction to materialism can be serviced via repetitive behaviour in the workplace.

-*-

So sensitivity to distress when we observe people behaving with immorality - which'd be considered creative as we're extending understanding beyond the narrow focus which current society (materialism=consumerism=global economic system=only money/law=ownership=rentier capitalism) permits.

People are simply spending their lives addicted.

Goal - mind (wisdom) alleviates addictive propensity (you can no longer chase materialism because the underlying motivational system which drives an individual into human competitive practices) is lost.
Thing about ADDers though is that we never do have it - placing the ADDer as a fundamentally different type over nonADDer.

Thinking reward system of nonADDer at wisdom = reward system of ADDer at birth ie we're being deviated away from materialism towards 'quality' by an evolutionary event (emergence of ADDer).
Disorder in ADDer if ADDer exposed to non-rewarding environment ie to make money,materialism.

Feels sub-human to have ANY thing - people should share EVERYthing - or at least all that we can all have one of.

SB_UK
11-05-14, 08:11 AM
What I like about the point above - is that it echoes a 'life-cycle' or an end-point to a previous evolutionary event which then becomes the foundation for a subsequent species.

IE the previous species strived to get to the place (social reward system via wisdom) which I think we're gifted with ie we 'bank' the successes of previous abstraction layers ie keep the 'goodies' and then move on.

So - as described previously under 'self-actualization' - ie post-wisdom to strive towards sensory experience which can be described as 'awe' - becomes the ADDer reward system ie to experience at some sensory level - beauty
- be it ear, eyes, touch, taste etc ...

The memory thing is interesting though - it would be nice to have a better working memory - but I personally feel the desire to eliminate all knowledge which doesn't make sense from my mind - feel a sense of 'effort' when I have to place some information which makes no sense (a name ?) into memory ... ... and so ask whether or not the diminished working memory is a true hit we take for living in the present.

Though - perhaps it's a different relationship to memory which we're observing in ADD.

I don't feel as if I know anything - which is what it feels like if things make sense ie you don't need to store isolated info - can regenerate knowledge from understandign from 'first principles'.

-*-

I think I need to re-iterate that ADDers are probably going to be worse than nonADDers at everything in a competitive environment.
Little advantage to the ADDer.

The only advantage to the ADDer is that with the reward system we have - survival is ensured.
With the materialist reward system - the predecessor group will not continue to exist.
They'll simply eat and throw away everything we have.

So - only real advantage to ADDer is that we're not motivated towards behaviours which'll lead to our own premature demise - which is enough
- if we consider evolution to have some relation to selecting properties which promote survival.

SB_UK
11-05-14, 09:04 AM
I'd describe it a bit lik having something that you're not using - where do you store it ?
You kinda' wish that you didn't have it because it's going to make it harder to access things you actually need.
It's not that it's despised - it's just that it detracts from your life.

That's what storing disconnected knowledge in memory feels like ie junk -

- and that's what materialism changes into - I don't want anything and if I have anything the burden of finding a place for it to sit doesn't outweigh the benefits of having the thing.

Just 'stuff' in the way.
Similarly ... ... just 'knowledge' in the way.

Impeding the acquisition of wisdom because so few people know what any of the info they have in mind means.

SB_UK
11-05-14, 09:09 AM
And it connects zen emptiness of mind with the typical zen style of property which is natural and empty.

Lunacie
11-05-14, 12:22 PM
So we have poor working memory and we compensate by trying new things all the time
instead of being able to remember what worked or what didn't work before.

I'm not sure I'd label that as "creativity."

SB_UK
11-05-14, 12:31 PM
No it's more simplification of understanding - reducing all extraneous variables -

- simplest way of putting it is simplification.

To understand this idea - it's kinda' important to see that many of our problems arise through over-complication - and so a 'simplifying' tendency is actually useful.

The general point which comes up next is that science does like to tend to simplest possible explanation however without over-simplifying.

SB_UK
11-05-14, 12:35 PM
The quote I generally use is off David Bohm's wikiP page - which makes the point that human beings have an overwhelming tendency to (fail to) solve problems with solutions which cause more problems ... ... and of course as the problems swell so it becomes harder to stem the tide.

Appropriate simplification which maybe a low working memory may assist - or maybe the low working memory requires 'interest' before info is placed into memory placing a filter on all incoming information - only if it's useful to one's current state of mind.

Rejection of info doesn't mean the infor is useless - merely nowhere to put it.

Also from wikiP - general idea -
'the teacher will appear when the student is ready' -

eclectic beagle
11-05-14, 01:29 PM
i.e., holding information in mind for novel recombinations) has often been documented in students with ADHD.

I'm reading that statement as relating to a perceived specific and necessary component rather than one of potentiality. Sort of like "one has to have a large working memory capacity in order to navigate successfully around cliches." I would disagree with that, since a lack of perception of novelty/cliche within the creator doesn't preclude creativity. And then you might have a researcher or reader that imbues the concept of novelty with a layer of complexity that potentially might not exist.

Lunacie
11-05-14, 01:41 PM
I'm reading that statement as relating to a perceived specific and necessary component rather than potentiality. Sort of like "one has to have a large working memory capacity in order to navigate successfully around cliches." I would disagree with that, since a lack of perception of novelty/cliche within the creator doesn't preclude creativity. And then you might have a researcher or reader that imbues the concept of novelty with a layer of complexity that potentially might not exist.

"... one of necessity rather than potentiality ..."

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say above.

SB_UK
11-05-14, 03:37 PM
Try again -
imagine if people stopped you and gave you something random each day.
And you stored them all in your house.
You'd soon be lost in stuff.

That's what it's like out there - you've experts in each and every molecular field dumping 'stuff' into the collective mindscape - each driving hard to increase the amount of stuff - because that's what they're paid to do.

It's better to think long and hard and to have the couple of things you need - and to be able to locate them.

I'd suggest that the ADDer working memory can be understood as above -
- if info makes sense and if we actually want the info which is being offered - then we retain it.

Otherwise we don't attend - and so don't incorporate into memory - and so appear to have a poor working memory.

Whether we do or don't - I'd argue that it's whether we're interested in the info which defines whether we pay attention to/store it.

But then - I'd also suggest that there's something related to being in the present and draining one's memory ie nothing to ruminate anxiously over - if there's nothing there in working memory to attract our attention.

Either way - an apparently poor working memory is a very important aspect of ADHD.

SB_UK
11-05-14, 03:58 PM
So creativity from the sense of mind/wisdom 'd be (especially in this world) to know what is and what isn't nonsense.

The point in life is to complete mind ie to obtain a model of understanding of reality which is consistent ... ...

So - if we see the nonADD mind as a blank sheet of paper in which we're expected to draw a dog - and the ADD mind as a dot to dot with 100 points which we feel disordered when we're not connecting the dots.

The point being that the ADDer is customised to complete mind and the nonADDer isn't ... ... and the net effect of being customised to complete mind is that we can't not see that the current diabesity epidemic which effects 1/3 of UK and USA is (in effect) caused by eating 'too many pies'.

IE why study the genetics of a condition which we'll never alter when the solution is in helping to understand why people eat pies to the point of explosion.

To which the answer is that people are stressed up the wazoo because of an inequality societal infrastructure caused by money.

So - the point I'm making is that we can't store the dissection of the genetics of disorders which're caused by distress (inequality) and eating poison (the Western diet) - because so what ???

And yet medicine is wholly fixated on nonsense genomics of complex conditions when it's simply pie (fat / carb) attraction through distre$$ (see Peripheral - rat park and on the elimination of fat/carb attraction with naloxone) which is all that the entire medical establishment needs to concern itself with.

-*-

The entire field of medicine needs simply to ask/answer the question.

Who ate all the pies ? Who ate all the pies ? Who ate all the pies ?
And why ?

And every common disease 'll go away when they listen to Mighty Marmot's study which clearly defines inequality through money as the basis to the attraction for pies and big round visceral fat depot loaded obese tubby wubbly bellies.

SB_UK
11-05-14, 04:06 PM
So my point is - is that the creativity in ADHD is expressing itself in the arraying of information into such a way that NONSENSE is rejected ... ...
and so that the ADD mind is predisposed to self-assembly to wisdom.

And I think this tallies with the ancient observation that ADDers are ancient souls nearing enlightenment ie predisposed to wisdom (== enlightenment).

So - much as we'd like to have a better working memory - it's really not required if we put in place a purpose to mind of reaching wisdom.

Being able to remember 1000 random cards is all well and good - but who wants to stick a load of meaningless info in the mind
- the purpose of life is to be happy - and I personally find that I'm happy in the 'emptied' mind state where my mind isn't chattering incessantly about NOTHING important.

Emptied state -> Emptiness -> very difficult to describe and it looks like Buddhism has been struggling with this idea for a while ... ... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81)

a mode of perception in which one neither adds anything to nor takes anything away from what is present, noting simply,

To move through experience without becoming caught up at some point in time and trapped away from the present.

I can explain this state over and over again - but the take-home is that current society is ever so keen on people becoming professors of leading Universities with a string of letters after the name -
- but that this classifies as material world attachment (to knowledge/power)

- and is what we're trying to escape - much like material world attachment to money/power/beating other people ... ... a form of self-liberation which opens the door to happiness through existence without (pre-)conditionality.

mildadhd
11-05-14, 04:18 PM
A simple example of the way I understand it...

A mature higher orbito prefrontal cortex (OFC) regulates lower subcortical emotional systems.

People with ADHD have no brain damage, but have a slightly underdeveloped/immature right orbito frontal cortex. (about ~5%)

Due to slightly underdeveloped/immature function of neocortical emotional regulation, separate lower subcortical emotional systems are slightly more overactive/hypersensitive.

Which emotional systems are "exercised", depends on the individuals emotional environment/circumstances.

Distressful (imbalanced) emotional environments may result in slightly more anxious or irritable feelings/emotions, that originate in the lower subcortex.

Eustressful (balanced) emotional environments may result in slightly more joyful creative feelings/emotions, that also originate in the lower subcortex.


(Emotional memories, inherited sensitivity (inherited temperament), individuality, etc are also some of the other partial factors)




P

mildadhd
11-05-14, 05:31 PM
I think people with ADHD feel more.

If a more sensitive person with ADHD says, "I do feel creative", I believe the person.

If a more sensitive person with ADHD says, "I do not feel creative", I believe the person.


I feel I am creative because I am sensitive.

I feel I am even more creative when I am not feeling emotionally distressed.



P

SB_UK
11-06-14, 05:20 AM
I think people with ADHD feel more.

If a more sensitive person with ADHD says, "I do feel creative", I believe the person.

If a more sensitive person with ADHD says, "I do not feel creative", I believe the person.


I feel I am creative because I am sensitive.

I feel I am even more creative when I am not feeling emotionally distressed.



P

Exactly.

Adduce
11-06-14, 10:27 AM
I have hit something of a motherlode here- which puts paid to Russell Barkley's often quoted dismissal of the idea of ADHD being associated with creativity.

Here is the first paper- more to come though.
http://gcq.sagepub.com/content/57/4/234.short




More to come- time to put the idea that ADHD and creativity are not associated to bed.

Another post here that may be of interest to you, if you have not seen already.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-barry-kaufman/the-creative-gifts-of-adh_b_6068400.html

Lunacie
11-06-14, 11:30 AM
Another post here that may be of interest to you, if you have not seen already.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-barry-kaufman/the-creative-gifts-of-adh_b_6068400.html

That study refers to kids who are considered "gifted."

Those kids may be able to utilize their creativity better than kids who are not gifted.

After all, as in any demographic, kids with ADHD may range anywhere from
highly gifted to very low intelligence score, and everywhere in between.

Those who are not so gifted, or have comorbid disorders, may have a harder time
using that creativity to their benefit.

SB_UK
11-06-14, 12:29 PM
In fact, for both the ADHD and the non-ADHD group of students, the poorer the working memory, the higher the creativity!interesting.

Working memory involves the ability to control attentionPersonally - I don't control attention - it finds its own interests and I just watch.

As Adduce's link describes or extrapolating - finding something interesting kinda' involves settling into a relaxed state, getting a little irritated about one's level of understanding and imagining a better solution.

So imagining - coming back to a quote from many years ago - that if you can't even imagine a solution to a problem how will experimental evidence be recruited towards supporting that hypothesis ie that an unimaginable hypothesis will never be supported even if the data is available to support it - because the data can't be interpreted in that light since that light is ?? dark.

Hathor
11-06-14, 01:48 PM
Personally - I don't control attention - it finds its own interests and I just watch.



That is it! lOok 'hoss no hands :confused:

Otherwise it is like fighting a loose steering wheel on some ****ty road to nowhere, which is bad enough with good steering I assume

So running into the bloody ditch on the crazy road to plastic paradise is the beginning of wisdom?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WtXDdYBWS0

In my version, when he gets back to Peter the music is by Vinnie Paz who is being fed grapes.

SB_UK
11-06-14, 02:53 PM
That is it! lOok 'hoss no hands :confused:

Otherwise it is like fighting a loose steering wheel on some ****ty road to nowhere, which is bad enough with good steering I assume

So running into the bloody ditch on the crazy road to plastic paradise is the beginning of wisdom?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WtXDdYBWS0

In my version, when he gets back to Peter the music is by Vinnie Paz who is being fed grapes.


Progressively losing the capacity to control attention as the path to wisdom - yes - attention finds its own path - a path which if followed will be beneficial to you/the individual.

SB_UK
11-06-14, 03:13 PM
I wonder why they picked John Gurdon.

mildadhd
11-07-14, 12:01 AM
I am curious to know if the research results would be similar, if they did the similar study with people with ADHD and people without ADHD in a jail, instead of a school?


P

SB_UK
11-07-14, 05:44 AM
self-medication eg drug seeking/crime (http://www.adhdandjustice.co.uk/badge/adhd-and-crime-generally.aspx) <- distress <- trampled all over <- sensitivity -> nurtured -> creativity eg Gurdon

It all just depends on environmental context

Not really useful considering the negative side of ADHD or the positive side of ADHD in isolation.

Being sensitive is a very great boon and the worst curse ever dependent on environmental context.

And what drives me personally mad are people who can't see that blessing/curse is environmentally contextual.

Many years ago we had a thread (MeADD823) stating that ADHD disorder is contextual ... ... and still to this day - the same point comes up on thread after thread.

-*-

Sensitivity (see Tygersan's excellent parallel thread on schizophrenia and information overload) - is all we need to understand.

Naturally someone with sensitive hearing will be driven mad in a noisy environment, and somebody who has sensitive hearing will be happy in the quiet.

As it happens - we're in the midst of firework celebrations - and I don't go out in the week surrounding fireworks night because the noise is so loud that it causes me pain.
It has been like this since first mind ie 4/5 years of age.
Extreme pain through sensitivity.

But it's not a problem and is even a boon outside in complete solitude in nature; one can hear the background sounds of nature - more finely tuned are one's hearing, vision etc ie more information upload through the senses occurs by virtue of our sensItivity.

And as we all know - sensory information eg music can drive dopamine (reward) eg musical chills.

So ... ... it does feel as though there's a relationship between inceased sensitivity and reward which of course and metaphorically - is trampled all over in a 'noisy' (crass) environment.

-*-

So - I'm trying to describe the ADDer as customized to quality of sensory experience (maybe also logical and empathic informational upload also - see Tygersan thread) - and great distress at exposure to coarse sensory experience.

So - imagine the pain many of us will feel when we listen to a 'simple' plastic fabricated pop song ... ... now translate that across the senses - and we're living in a brutal coarse low quality environment where the net effect of that is distress -> self-medication which can potentially take in crime.

SB_UK
11-07-14, 05:57 AM
Play (Peripheral/Panksepp) only occurs when safe (distress free) -
the underlying creativity arising from play in a distress-free environment is what we offer.

And it's wholly disrupted in a distressful environment.

Kunga Dorji
11-10-14, 04:38 AM
So we have poor working memory and we compensate by trying new things all the time
instead of being able to remember what worked or what didn't work before.

I'm not sure I'd label that as "creativity."

Lunacie-- I have experience in this, and a whole pile of science to support me to.
The personal experience of having the burden on my working memory lifted by postural correction and balance retraining has also been striking- but lets face it - I don't have before and after IQ charts to back that up :)

We do not have "poor working memory" we have poor "available working memory".

Almost none of the psychologists who bandy about the term "working memory" actually know that the biggest drain on working memory is physical movement. However- that is a proven fact.

So- us ADDers are all clumsy, we bump into doorways and walls, we drop things and we have horrible balance-- all that points to a perception-balance-movement problem which is robbing working memory that might be needed elsewhere.

I don't need to argue this to myself- I know it is true- as mine has been fixed. Where before I was clever- now I am just damn scary- hell I am holding talks with a university to get some nice young PhD students to turn some of my ideas into research- Tuesday 18 November, I am meeting a Thaiwanese Buddhist master for dinner Thursday 13 November to discuss the medical applications of Qi Gong, and on the afternoon of Tuesday 18 November I am to be interviewed by a Japanese Zen master on my own use of complementray medicine in the treatment of my ADHD. That one will probably end up on You Tube.

Lunacie -- your idea of our "defective working memory" is a "limiting belief" and I am very happy that I saw through it and refused to believe it was true.
Wake up and smell the lotuses :)

Kunga Dorji
11-10-14, 04:43 AM
I think people with ADHD feel more.




P

Yes _ I am sure that is true- sometimes the ADHD is what happens when we shut down from the overload of that sensitivity.

The noise- signal ratio gets too high.

Hathor
11-10-14, 05:02 AM
So- us ADDers are all clumsy, we bump into doorways and walls, we drop things and we have horrible balance-- all that points to a perception-balance-movement problem which is robbing working memory that might be needed elsewhere.

)

Sorry for the sidejack, but I am inconsistent in my clumsiness. I am a good skier, but usually clumsy. For example it took me a long time to get my sealegs when working on fishing boats, and I would stagger as if drunken for a long time.

Have you heard of this?

SB_UK
11-10-14, 08:27 AM
Is there any chance that the development of balance requires nothing more than (in effect) bare-foot running ?
I'm operating off pure intuition here - but it's screaming at me as an aspect of neural training/development which we're not completing through the pressures of living, and the imbalance introduced by shoes.

I'm slightly impeded in testing this hypothesis because I've raging inflammation in my joints which is proving difficult to overlook.

SB_UK
11-10-14, 08:29 AM
Since the general scientific theory is that we're evolved persistence hunters

- all we need for health is movement (barefoot), fasting, occasional feast, natural food, sun, daydreaming ... ...

our problems could be as simple as the combined effect of not living as above.

I can categorically state that over Summer when we had some sunny days and I was alone and not at work - all I did was ^^^^
- and it's the only happy memory I have of life - ever.

Kunga Dorji
11-10-14, 08:54 PM
Sorry for the sidejack, but I am inconsistent in my clumsiness. I am a good skier, but usually clumsy. For example it took me a long time to get my sealegs when working on fishing boats, and I would stagger as if drunken for a long time.

Have you heard of this?

Yes- I have.
That describes me too!
I was a very good skier- the only time I ever showed any ability to be co-ordinated until recently.


The psychiatrist Harold Levinson is the one doctor I know of who has explored this study of balance, dyslexia and ADHD most thoroughly.
In his book "Total Concentration" he discusses that many of us have trained our coordination in one domain but not in others.

My understanding would be that we have learned to use our bodies in that situation in a way that ensures a correct spinal alignment- but have not cross generalised that skill to other activities.

One of the biggest improvements I have noted from the QIiGong (9 months and still going strong) is an improvement in coordination across domains.
That has really caught my interest.

As far as i am concerned- co-ordinated movement is less of a drain on my working memory. I am sick of ADHD symptomatology and really want to be my best all the time- because that best is pretty impressive.