ADHD traits may have given our ancestors an evolutionary advantage: Study | Technology News – DollarJob

ADHD traits may have given our ancestors an evolutionary advantage: Study | Technology News


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) related traits may have given our ancestors, and evolutionary advantage for our ancestors who foraged for food, suggests a new study.

In today’s world, impulsivity, distractability and other traits associated with ADHD are known to make everyday tasks more challenging. But a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that it offers humans an advantage that will helps them forage for food more effectively, according to Washington Post. Foraging was an important technique used by hunter-gatherers to get the food they need to survive.

“The increased foraging proficiency of participants with ADHD-like behaviour observed here suggests that the prevalence and persistence of ADHD in human populations may serve an adaptive function in some environment,” wrote the researchers in the study. They believe that this could offer an explanation for why ADHD was more prevalent than expected from random genetic mutations alone.

“If [these traits] were truly negative, then you would think that over evolutionary time, they would be selected against. Our findings are an initial data point, suggestive of advantages in certain choice contexts,” said David Barack of the University of Pennsylvania, lead author of the research to The Guardian.

The study was conducted by analysing data from 457 adults who completed an online foraging game in which they had to collect as many berries as possible within eight minutes. Each time one of the participants foraged a bush by clicking on a patch of berries, it depleted the virtual bush. While they are playing the game, participants have two different options — they could either stay at the same bush or they could move on to the next one.

Festive offer

After the game, the researchers also conducted a questionnaire to screen for ADHD-like symptoms, and 206 of the 457 participants had positive results. Researchers found that participants with higher ADHD quiz scores were more likely to abandon their current patch and look for another one with more berries than others. More importantly, the researchers found that this group also scored more points than the others.

According to the researchers, this suggests that some of our nomadic ancestors may have benefitted from the genes associated with ADHD.

But the study has some limitations. For one, the ADHD questionnaire only provided a self-diagnosis. The researchers believe that this study needs to be repeated with actual diagnoses and foraging tasks in the real world to actually confirm the results.


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