Some thoughts on ADHD-Inattentive

The limbic system determines the salience of environmental stimuli and the prefrontal cortex chooses which reactive impulses to suppress and which to give rein. Primarily, the function of impulse suppression is to reduce time preference so that larger, later payoffs are preferred over smaller, sooner payoffs. Attention Deficit Disorder is best explained, in general, as a simple matter of high time preference (inability to suppress impulses and defer gratification) indicating retardation in the cerebral cortex, or limbic dysfunction such that salience is determined inappropriately. The latter will often correspond with sexual dysfunction and extreme mutation accumulation.

However, this is an incomplete model if we consider the curious paradox of ADHD-Inattentive people, who occasionally exhibit hyperfocus and produce feats of unbelievable self-inhibition, on an entirely different scale of magnitude than ordinary feats of low time preference. For example, only people with ADHD-I are capable of the legendary marathon coding sessions that Scrum attempts to replicate.

This paradox cannot be fully explained by the ADHD-I person finding the code more interesting than schoolwork, or by value stratification, because a person in a state of hyperfocus famously ignores their physical interests such as hunger. If the phenomenon were purely a matter of poor impulse control, then it would be interrupted by other impulses such as hunger as these increased in magnitude. Instead, we observe that if given a binary choice between satisfying physical needs (eating, sleeping, socialization, relaxation, etc.) and finishing the project, the ADHD-I person will often elect the latter and suffer physically in order to realize his future vision of the finished product. In the same individual, we have a contrast between generally low impulse control and occasionally superhuman impulse control.

Therefore I suggest that ADHD-I is not a simple impulse control problem indicating retardation in the cerebral cortex, but rather a core difference in the limbic system. I propose that it is a misdiagnosis of the endogenous personality type in combination with high impulse control.

The exogenous personality type is primarily concerned with social success because this is the correct strategy among primates, who allocate resources according to hierarchical position. An exogenous personality with low time preference will prefer high-effort, high-reward strategies such as academic performance, SAT test preparation, and researching possible career paths that will offer a maximum return on prestige for effort. By contrast, an exogenous personality with high time preference will rationalize that life probably does not continue after the age of 29.

The endogenous personality type cannot be explained this way, and the disinterest in pursuing social success is misdiagnosed as a lack of impulse control because the social effects are similar. However, the immediate appearance is very different—where a person lacking impulse control will attend to external stimuli heedlessly, the ADHD-I personality sits quietly and appears to attend to nothing at all. Except, occasionally, when they unexpectedly take an superhuman interest in stimuli related to some internal motivation.

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About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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12 Responses to Some thoughts on ADHD-Inattentive

  1. Koanic says:

    Epic postbro strikes again.

    Who was that occed man?

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Aeoli falling out of the clouds back to earth again. Ouch…

      Makes sense that you’d like this, it describes you. My impulse control problems are a stronger factor than endogenous personality though both are operative.

  2. fdsfdsfsgfsfsd says:

    >This paradox cannot be fully explained by the ADHD-I person finding the code more interesting than schoolwork, or by value stratification, because a person in a state of hyperfocus famously ignores their physical interests such as hunger. If the phenomenon were purely a matter of poor impulse control, then it would be interrupted by other impulses such as hunger as these increased in magnitude.

    reminds me of something
    http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2014:Strange_mood

  3. baduin says:

    Skinner’s behavioristic description of mind in terms of stimulus/response is not quite enough in this case.

    I would suggest analyzing this problem in terms of left/right hemisphere. Left hemisphere in modern times is overdeveloped and badly controlled. It can be visualised as a computer which desires to compute, or even more – is addicted to computing and cannot slow down. Generally, it lacks both program and imput which it can process, so it jumps about bored.

    Or you can imagine it as a some kind of machine, perhaps a circular hand saw. It is always turning at high speed, but as long as it hasn’t gripped some piece of wood, it is jumping about aimlessly. But when it manages to catch some wood, it runs away, and goes on sawing it as long as there is wood to saw.

    It is easy to observe by introspection, since, I suppose, many of thinking people nowadays have some symptoms of such uncontrolled left hemisphere.

    The best way to see the desire of the left hemisphere to work is to try to stop useless thinking – the abortive trains of thought, which are usually starting and dying out constantly. Eg one can go on a walk in woods and try to merely observe.

    One can contrast that experience with starting reading some obscure topic on Wikipedia and going on tangents, until one falls down asleep on the keyboard.

    But perhaps the best trap for the left hemisphere is coding. It is purely left hemisphere activity, or so I imagine – especially lower level work.

    As I said, one needs to have at least some symptoms to really understand it.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I agree. My current theory is that the left prefrontal cortex governs the gray matter of the brain and the right prefrontal governs the white matter. The left prefers local coherence (avoiding contradictions, error detection) and the right prefers global coherence (paradigmatic worldview building, navigating paradoxes), and when we make decisions we generally prefer to maximize one rather than the other. I think this corresponds to T and F in MBTI, but in some oddball cases (like me) N substitutes for F for whatever reason. This could be related to ADHD-I.

  4. Lazer says:

    This post was epic as usual.

    “the ADHD-I personality sits quietly and appears to attend to nothing at all. Except, occasionally, when they unexpectedly take an superhuman interest in stimuli related to some internal motivation.”

    This is why they are thought to have a problem. They are calm (high T) and working dillgently on a task that requires a computer, book learning, or filling out paper work. When they take on the superhuman interest they move onto the next task and stop what they were doing and do the other thing, and go back to the other thing when they are done with the other thing. You will often hear of programmers saying they have stuff running in the background. When you can integrate this type of thinking with local and global coherence is when the real fun begins.

    This is why they look like they have ADHD. They have a multitude of projects and plans ongoing in their head, but to the unobservant and ignorant eye it appears as if they are running around with their head cut off.

    They will leave papers scattered across a desk, because its 3oclock in the morning and the post office isnt open till Monday (or wait for code to debug while they run out for a bike ride), or leave a pot boiling and sit in their chair reading a book until they hear the environmental queue. The unobservant thinks they are inattentive, but they are just waiting until the end of the paragraph to turn the heat off on the stove.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I should mention that in my case there appears to be a combination of proper inattention (impulse control issues) as well as endogenous personality. Koanic is a better example of the OP.

    • Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Borg says:

      “Why does it look like there are so many unfinished projects here?”

      “Because the iterator hasn’t completed its cycle through them.”

      Also, TPFs (an old IBM technology) are better at cranking through short and intense jobs, and if one of the TPF processes runs too long, you simply drop it for a while and put it back on the scheduler for later.

      Who needs process priorities when you can give every process extreme focus?

  5. dude says:

    My friend that has ADHD I, knew he reminded me of you. We’ve reconnected recently, he sent me a pic of the beer he was brewing. :-)

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