Monday, March 19, 2012


Many popular books and articles about ADHD claim that hyper-focusing is something that ADDers are particularly good at. I've even read articles that list hyper-focusing as a symptom of ADHD. But are ADDers any better at hyper-focusing that other people?

No, not really.

As Jeff points out at Jeff's ADD Mind hyper-focusing isn't a special "gift" that comes with having ADHD, it's something that most people can do when they're engaged in something that really interests them. Book lovers often talk about "not being able to put down" a book that really grabs their interest. Sports fans can spend hours and hours following an absorbing game on TV. It's not that people with ADHD have a special ability to hyper-focus, it's simply that they really struggle to focus on things they don't find interesting. By contrast, people who don't have ADHD can still focus reasonably well on things they find boring.

Maybe there are things that ADDers have a tendency to be better at than non-ADDers (I don't have any strong views either way on this one). However, it's more likely these are in areas that require divergent thinking, like say humour or creativity, rather than things that are related to concentration.

Arguing that a person with an attention deficit is particularly good at attending to things, even if only in certain situations, just doesn't make sense.

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