They picked more berries and went on an adventure

They picked more berries and went on an adventure

People with ADHD are often seen as busy and impulsive, but it is very likely that their adventurous nature has been very helpful in the past. Their willingness to take risks and explore new possibilities likely made them better food gatherers and explorers.

This may explain why the condition develops and never goes away. People used to be wandering hunters, constantly searching for food and better places to stay. Genes linked to ADHD can be beneficial for a nomadic lifestyle that requires a little adventure.

I'm looking for berries
To test it I came up Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania created an online game in which about five hundred participants had to search for food. They had the choice of collecting berries in the field they were in or exploring new areas in hopes of finding more food. “In the virtual foraging game, participants can always choose to stay in the current field to harvest berries or move on to the next field. If the participant chooses to stay and harvest again, a reward will be offered the moment the pointer reaches the field,” explained researcher Arjun Ramakrishnan.

“When the participant decided to move to the next field by checking the box, the fields moved to the bottom to mimic the participant's forward movement. The 'travel time' took three or ten seconds depending on the round. They all played two rounds, each lasting four minutes. In addition, Participants were explicitly told that the amount of berries collected was directly related to the monetary reward they would receive at the end of the study, so they were instructed to pick as many berries as possible during the game.

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On a voyage of discovery
Next, the participants had to complete an ADHD test, and it turned out that those with this condition wanted more than others, and were also more likely to leave the first field to search for new opportunities. As a result, they ate more food at the end of the song compared to those without ADHD. “Those with high ADHD scores left the fields earlier than those with lower scores, on average after 23 seconds versus 19 seconds,” Ramakrishnan explains. “But those with ADHD also achieved higher rewards, with an average of 1.59 versus 1.36 points per second. This suggests that people with ADHD searched better in such an area. And they played better.” Better, resulting in a higher reward in total.

So ADHD appears to be a beneficial evolutionary adaptation, as people prefer exploration to exploitation. So they would rather explore new opportunities than purge an entire field. It's good to have those kind of people there, so you don't end up with an empty field and then have no new destination.

Better treatment for ADHD
The researcher was completely surprised by the results. “Achieving higher rewards by leaving the berry patch earlier suggests that symptoms of ADHD are an advantage in such settings. People with ADHD may appear to have a specific form of focus for certain tasks. And whether Whether these benefits will last beyond this mission or remain a legacy of the past remains an open question.

So the researcher wants to continue with a more accurate game that better reflects our lifestyle. “We are also interested in the neural basis or underlying mechanisms of the observed behavior. This could lead to the development of a more targeted treatment for ADHD,” the researcher concludes.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an abbreviation for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorderIt occurs in 3 to 5 percent of children and adults. ADHD is characterized by three characteristics: hyperactive behavior, impulsivity, and problems concentrating. Therefore, people have difficulty sitting still, fidget a lot, and have difficulty relaxing. They also often talk too much, react without thinking, and make rash decisions. Finally, they are also dreamers, who have difficulty completing tasks, are easily distracted and often lose things.

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