ADD / ADHD, Science

Was ADHD created by modern society?

Computer games, television, diet and sleep patterns have all been blamed for ADHD over the years. There is certainly evidence that diet and sleep problems can make ADHD worse but there is nothing to suggest that they cause it in the first place.
If ADHD is not a modern phenomena then it must be an inherent part of our biological make up. Therefore, evolution dictates that there must be an advantage to our genetics for this type of behaviour. Just as good eye-sight and intelligence are adaptive and have helped mankind to survive, so must ADHD. If having ADHD was not an advantage then all the people with ADHD would of died out without passing on their genes.
This question was examined by researched in Oslo and London and they found:
Simulations of the Changing Food group task show that unpredictable behaviour by a minority optimizes results for the group. Characteristics of such group exploration tasks are risk-taking, in which costs are borne mainly by the individual; and information-sharing, in which benefits accrue to the entire group. Hence, this work is closely linked to previous studies of evolved altruism.“.
This means that the high-risk taking nature of people with ADHD is helpful to society in general but not necessarily the individual with ADHD. So if primitive man found a new type of berry then the person with ADHD would eat the berry first. The tribe or society would then find out if the berry was poisonous or not. Of course if it is poisonous then the person with ADHD suffers but society as a whole benefits.
Study Abstract: The evolution of hyperactivity, impulsivity and cognitive diversity

One Comment

  1. Jonathan

    The “berry theory” may have more validity than it appears at first sight and be used to explain the apparent wider prevalence of ADHD in today.
    Testing the limits use to increase the risk of deletion from the gene pool after a bout of painful stomach cramps. Now it just results in exclusion from class.

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