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Opinion & Essays - Oct, 1995 Issue #36 

by: Russell Barkley, Ph.D. 
U. Of Mass Med. Ctr, Psych. Dept.
Worcester, Massachusetts
(FAX 508-856-6426) 

(The following is a summary of an essay extracted from THE ADHD REPORT, Vol. 1, #5, Oct. 1993 - published by Guilford Publications 800-365-7006 and downloaded from CompuServe, permission granted for abstract). 

The author claims that laboratory research on ADHD has found "the primary component of ADHD is more one of disinhibition or poor delay of response than inattention." 

He believes the deficits noted in ADHD children may be better answered in a theory proposed by Jacob Bronowski over 25 years ago, stating "that a major advancement in the evolution of human communication" came from "the simple capacity to delay responses to a signal, message, or event." This ability vastly exceeds that of other primates, and allowed the development of several uniquely human mental abilities. 

He observes this capacity to delay reaction allows humans to separate feeling from fact, create a more lasting mental fixing which is necessary for hindsight imagination & forethought, and to internalize rules for self-control & communication with others. 

The author feels looking at ADHD as an impairment of inhibition provides "a deeper appreciation for the pervasive impact of the disorder on daily life" as well as suggests new areas for research which have not been adequately explored. 

Copyright 1995, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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