Saturday, October 11, 2008

Those crazy creative people.

And you thought it was just the late stages of syphilis that caused the likes of Schumann and Schubert to go mad. But no, a recent study by psychologists from Harvard University and the University of Toronto may link creativity to psychosis. From Science News at Science Daily:

The study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment. Other people's brains might shut out this same information through a process called "latent inhibition" - defined as an animal's unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs. Through psychological testing, the researchers showed that creative individuals are much more likely to have low levels of latent inhibition.


"This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment," says co-author and U of T psychology professor Jordan Peterson. "The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities."

. . . .

"Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem linked," says Carson. "It appears likely that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought might predispose to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishment under others."


You can read the rest of the article, which was adapted from materials provided by the University of Toronto, here at Science Daily.

5 comments:

LB said...

This kind of makes me feel sad about my being so damn stable.

Fiddler said...

For some reason, Edison's "Genius is two percent inspiration and ninety-eight percent perspiration" seems like it would apply. Though I am happy to know that perhaps the instability in my life may be linked to creativity. It sounds good, anyway.

Fiddler said...

Darn it, I got it wrong. Evidently the ration is one percent to ninety-nine percent. Bartleby's says so.

LB said...

I knew you were wrong - I just thought you were flexing your crazy/creative muscles!

Barb said...

Well now you got me completely scared. My brain is unable to filter and everything gets registered up in my head. This has been more of a curse than a blessing, also since my senses are more acute than average. If I add, that I have a hard time forgetting details - spooky. I never thought this was linked to my creativity (the only thing I have plenty of) - then again, if I turn brilliant when I grow up, maybe it's worth it.