ERIC Number: ED403712
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Attention Deficit Disorder--A New Age Yuppie Disorder or an Age Old Human Characteristic Essential for Our Survival?
Orgill, Anna A.
This brief paper suggests that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) may result from a specific "novelty seeking" gene which has been associated over the history of man's evolution with a biological advantage in situations where energy, risk taking, and creativity are essentials. It reviews research on the genetics of ADD which suggest that novelty seekers have a modified form of the D4DR gene on chromosome 11 which controls the formation of receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine. Novelty seekers are reported to be generally impulsive, exploratory, quick tempered, and extravagant. Anthropological and sociological studies are reported to show the traditional existence of three types of human societies: hunter/gatherer, settled/villager, and complex/specialized. Successful members of hunter/gatherer societies need to be energetic (hyperactive), resourceful (creative problem solvers), enjoy changes (novelty seeking), able to react rapidly (impulsive), and able to live by their wits (risk takers), all characteristics of ADD individuals. The paper suggests that a greater incidence of ADD in the pioneering societies (United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) compared to Europe may be due to a higher frequency of the "novelty seeking ADD gene" in the pioneer settlers of these nations and that the prevalence and severity of ADD symptoms increase with accumulating life stresses. (Contains 13 references.) (DB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (8th, Chicago, IL, November 14-16, 1996).