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ADHD Traits May Have Provided an Evolutionary Advantage

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March 22, 2024ADHD traits such as distractibility and impulsivity may have benefited our ancestors as they foraged for food, and they continue to play a crucial role in how people with ADHD adapt and survive, suggests new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences.1University of Pennsylvania researchers recruited 457 study participants to play an online virtual berry-picking game.

The goal was to collect as many berries as possible within eight minutes by hovering their cursor over bushes. The players could stay at a bush or move to another, which would incur a brief timeout.Slightly less than half (45%) of the participants screened positive for symptoms consistent with an ADHD diagnosis, though this did not constitute a diagnosis because it was a self-reported assessment.

Those participants spent shorter periods in each patch and achieved higher reward rates than did participants who did not exhibit ADHD traits.The results indicated that populations with nomadic lifestyles that benefited from exploring tended to have genes associated with ADHD.

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