Richard G. Petty, MD

Attention Deficit, Money and Motivation

People often say that I’m someone who’s glass is always half full. Well, that’s not quite correct: I’m a huge realist, but I don’t like the idea of pathologizing everything that happens to us. One example of this is ADD.

Though untreated clinical ADD can lead to a great deal of distress and the ever-present risk of impulsive behaviors and substance abuse, I am also eager to examine the positive aspects of having attentional problems. Many of the young people and adults with ADD are also extremely successful in settings that don’t require the academic type of concentration. I have met entrepreneurs with ADD, as well as some highly creative people and athletes. A question has been whether ADD might confer some others gifts, benefits or advantages on people.

Although a year old, we recently came across an item that is not as well-known as it should be. Studies using fMRI have indicated that some of the regions of the brain that do not normally show much activity in young people with ADD become highly activated by monetary rewards.

This is not to say that giving young people money is the way to “conquer” ADD. Instead it suggest that rather than just thinking about people with ADD as just having an attention problem, we should also think of them as people who derive pleasure from different things than the bulk of the populations. Not having to spend all their time attending to linear learning may actually lead to greater freedom of imagination, creativity and emotional expression.

People with sever attentional problems can run into a lot of problems in relationships, even losing attention during sex. But it may be that may also be that minor degrees of loss of attentional focus may also enhance some people’s ability to feel empathy.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.


One Response to “Attention Deficit, Money and Motivation”
  1. Kyle Varner says:

    Wow–that is really interesting. It is especially interesting that money seems to motivate ADD kids more than the average other person. I really wonder what this means. It merits a lot of thought.

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