Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Polymath; the term used in polite society for an adult with ADHD

I wonder if anyone has studied or theorized on the evolutionary cost and benefits trade-offs of depression and ADHD. Depression is tricky, I can't really think of anything it is good for, but it may come hand-in-hand with something beneficial. ADHD and ADD on the other hand, strike me as having distinct possibilities. Being able to concentrate on boring or repetitive tasks, like chipping flint to make spear-points for a whole day, but being able to suddenly flip into hyper-vigilance at the hint of danger would be a distinct survival tactic.

I am just a layman, and my understanding of these processes is only light. Anyone have any thoughts?

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Blogger MGA said...

Actually, it works in the manufacturing world, too. Where excellence is sacrificied to the gods of "lean" and "mean" the ability to multitask is more valued than the ability to focus and finish.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Jerub-Baal said...

Which, interestingly enough, rules out ADHD as a corporate survival tactic. You'd think ADHD and ADD would lead to better multi-tasking (oh look, something shiny!) but one of the hallmarks of them is the ability to suddenly focus on just one thing, to the exclusion of the person's normal 'task-stream.' If your normal agenda is to search constantly for food (because you are always hungry) then shutting down that drive for food in order to hyper-focus on making a perfect obsidian spear-point would strike me as fitting the ADD profile. The constant search for food is the definition of multitasking, you're never getting anything done, because finding berries and then looking for nuts on the ground et cetera never gets you full. Being really hungry for a day while doing specific tasks to completion that help you bag a mammoth calls for a complete change in thought process.

9:35 AM  

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