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High IQ Offers No Protection from ADHD Effects

Superior intelligence is no defense against the effects of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

Yale researchers discovered 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 IQs who do not suffer from the disorder.

The report, to be published in the September print edition of the Journal of Attention Disorders, is now available online.

“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.

Source: Yale University

High IQ Offers No Protection from ADHD Effects

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). High IQ Offers No Protection from ADHD Effects. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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