High IQ Is No Help for Those With ADHD, Yale Researchers Find

Superior intelligence is no defense against the effects of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, Yale researchers have found.

About three of four ADHD individuals with an IQ of more than 120 – a score that ranks them in the top nine percent of the U.S. population – showed significant impairments in memory and cognitive tests when compared to people with similar IQ’s who do not suffer from the disorder, according to the researchers.

The report, to be published in the September print edition of the Journal of Attention Disorders, is now available online: http://jad.sagepub.com/pap.dtl

“Many of these people are told they can’t be suffering the loss of executive function (the ability to plan and carry out many day-to-day tasks) from ADHD because they are too smart,’’ said Thomas E. Brown, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

The high-IQ, ADHD group lacked self-management skills and the ability to focus. They tended to procrastinate and be forgetful and had difficulty in harnessing their talent to complete many daily tasks, the study found. In fact, 73 percent of the ADHD population showed significant deficits in five or more of the eight measures of executive function.

“Each of these individuals might be compared to a symphony orchestra of very talented musicians who cannot produce adequate symphonic music because the orchestra lacks an effective conductor,” the authors wrote.

Philipp C. Reichel and Donald M. Quinlan of Yale are co-authors of the paper.

This article was submitted by YSM Web Group on June 26, 2012.

Related People

Thomas Brown

Associate Director, Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders