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Annotated Bibliography

ADHD and human evolution
Luke Aulbert
Professor Malcolm Campbell
UWRT 1103

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Annotated Bibliography
“ADHD Hunter versus Farmer Theory." ADHD Theories. ADHD Health, 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 07
Mar. 2016
This website article examines the ADHD theory of Hunter vs. Farmer. This theory was
proposed by Thom Hartmann in order to explain the behaviors of people afflicted with
ADHD. This theory states people afflicted with ADHD had ancestors that were tribesmen
due to the advantage ADHD symptoms people exhibited when they are forced to hunt for
food. However as civilized societies began to develop, personality traits were adapted in
order to assume a sedimentary lifestyle associated with settled civilizations. Hartmann
also points out that people afflicted with ADHD typically exhibit a characteristic known
as hyper focus, which would be beneficial if you were a nomadic tribesman hunting for
food. Also, Hartmann claims a hunter has to be aware of signs of their prey, examine
dangers in surrounding areas, and make quick decisions. Since people with ADHD can
rapidly shift their focus and attention, Hartmann claims this could be beneficial for a
hunter. However, this however creates problems at school when they are presented
specific tasks to do in a classroom setting and forced to repetitive work. While this article
sources the main person who proposed the Hunter theory, the article fails to mention any
research done on the theory. In addition, the article fails to mention any credentials or
names of the authors. I will be using this source for my EIP, however I will have to find
research that supports and validates the Hunter theory proposed by Thom Hartmann.
Eisenberg, Dan Ta, Benjamin Campbell, Peter B. Gray, and Michael D. Sorenson.
"Dopamine Receptor Genetic Polymorphisms and Body Composition in Undernourished
Pastoralists: An Exploration of Nutrition Indices among Nomadic and Recently Settled

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Ariaal Men of Northern Kenya." BMC Evol Biol BMC Evolutionary Biology 8.1 (2008):
173. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.
This academic study examines the relationship between ADHD and survival in nomadic
tribes. In this study, researcher Dan Eisenberg examines a specific gene allele, 7-DRD4,
an allele in which changes the sensitivity in dopamine receptors. Due to its association
with dopamine receptors, the allele is thought to be associated with ADHD. Eisenberg
hypothesizes having ADHD was probably beneficial in nomadic settings as these
tribesmen needed to acquire and practice a broad variety of skills. In his experiment,
Eisenberg examines 150 Araiaal men in Nigeria; half of the participants were from a
settled location while half were nomadic tribesmen. Eisenberg also noted a higher
prevalence of this allele in the nomadic tribesmen as opposed to the settled group.
Eisenberg found people in the nomadic tribe group who possessed the 7-DRD4 allele
were better nourished then those in the group who did not possess the gene. Eisenberg
also noted people in the settled group who possessed the allele were slightly less nourish
than those without the allele. In the results section of the study he concludes there is
evidence to state ADHD might have been benefictual to tribesmen in the past. In the
Discussion section of his experiment, Eisenberg notes the prevalence of ADHD and states
ADHD may not be an actual illness, rather it is the inability for the child to adapt to the
modern environment, as humans in nomadic settings typically thrive with ADHD like
This article is credible as Eisenberg is a leading researcher in Anthropology as well as
obtained a Doctorate in Anthropology and lists several credible sources in his study. The
reader can see how exactly the allele gene is associated with ADHD as well as find

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additional information about ADHD and human evolution. However, Eisenberg fails to
state why exactly this allele is more prevalent in the nomadic group. As a result,
Eisenberg cannot say ADHD directly benefits survival in nomadic tribesmen. I will use
this study in my EIP as this study provides concrete evidence that ADHD is associated
with evolution particular in nomadic tribes and provides further insight into the genetic
component of ADHD.
Hartmann, Thom, and Vaudree Lavallee. "ADHD: Disorder or Difference?" Thom Hartmann.
Thom Hartmann Program, 01 Nov. 2007. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
This article examines an interview conducting with Russell Barkley in regards to Thom
Hartmann’s Hunter vs. Farmer Theory. Russell Barkley, a leading researcher on ADHD,
questions the legitimacy of Thom Hartmann’s Hunter theory. Barkley has researched
ADHD for decades and is also the author of several books, which offer technical and
popular advice. Barkley argues that although people can overcome ADHD with talent, he
claims one cannot link talent to the disorder. Barkley also argues that Psychology is not at
the level of knowledge to conclude ADHD was indeed an evolutionary advantage.
Russell Barkley also states that when he first heard Hartmann’s hunters and Farmer
theory, he thought his theory was pop psychology, however when ADHD advocates
began push this theory he became worried. Then when a paper published by Jensen
suggested ADHD could have been beneficial in an earlier phase of human evolution, he
was appalled by this stance, as Jensen was a leading figure in research into brain
development. Barkley insists that ADHD is not an evolutionary advantage, but rather a
disorder, and stating ADHD was an evolutionary advantage is like saying Ulysses S
Grant was a great general because he drank. Overall, Barkley view was a bit opinionated,

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however he does provide some insight into why ADHD as an evolutionary advantage.
Barkley reminds us ADHD has not been adequately researched enough to fully conclude
that ADHD was an evolutionary trait and therefore we should not jump to conclusions. I
will be utilizing this source in my EIP, however I will have to look further into Barkley’s
research as I found this interview on the Thom Hartmann Program and this excerpt could
contain potential bias considering the author of this article was Thom Hartmann.
Shelley-Tremblay, John F., and Lee A. Rosén. "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: An
Evolutionary Perspective." The Journal of Genetic Psychology 157.4 (1996): 443-53.

State University, 2001. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.

This scholarly source examines evolutionary theories about ADHD. This article cites
three theories to help explain why ADHD could have been an evolutionary advantage, the
hunters, the fighters, and the waders. The article suggests traits of distractibility;
impulsiveness and even aggression could be beneficial to hunters. This article quotes
Hartmann hunter’s theory by stating, if you see a flash in the darkness, or an object move
from the corner of your eye, it is likely either potential food or a predator if you were a
hunter. Another theory proposed in the article, The Fighters, notes a study conducted by
Barkley in which states people afflicted with ADHD are more likely than most to exhibit
aggressive behavior. The article further explains how this aggression could have been
beneficial for our species as he notes the extinction of Homo Neanderthals. Barkley states
two possibilities for the extinction, the first, the Neanderthals were indirectly outcompeted in a struggle for resources and that the Homo Sapiens had a slightly higher rate
of reproduction, or the second, that Homo Sapiens may have been slaughtered by Homo
Sapiens migrating northward from Africa into the European continent. Also, as African

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Sapiens pushed northward they were engaged in direct competition with the Neanderthals
for food supplies, thus a fierce energetic human with reduced inhibitions would have
been ideal for this environment. The article then mentions a third theory, The Waders.
The article cites a study conducted by Elaine Morgan in 1972. Morgan’s theory is that
humans underwent a majority of their transitions from quadrupedal to bipedal, from mute
to linguistic as a result of being tidal waders. The article states that children afflicted with
ADHD instigate more contacts with their others than people without ADHD. Morgan
states this would have been beneficial for for tidal waders as the mother would become
more aware of the child and thus keeping the child from drowning.
This article proposes theories that prove useful in providing evidence that ADHD might
have been an evolutionary trait. Also, this article cites many studies in order to validate
evidence for these theories. The Authors of this research article are credible as they each
contain a PH.D in Psychology and have each had previous experience in conducting
research on ADHD and evolution. I will be using this article in my EIP as this article
thoroughly explains these evolutionary theories and cites many studies that could be
further examined to support this claim.