Friday, May 20, 2011

A Link Between Mental Illness & Creativity?

Creativity often goes hand-in-hand with mental illness, such as schizophrenia. Now scientists think they know why: The brain responds differently to the "feel good" chemical dopamine in both schizophrenics and the highly creative, a new study suggests.

The results showed similarities between the brains in healthy, highly creative people and those with schizophrenia. The findings suggest that creative types might not be able to filter information in their heads as well as "normal" folks, leaving them better able to make novel connections and generate unique ideas.

"Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box," said study researcher Fredrik Ullén, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Studies have found that creative skills are more common in people who have mental illness in their families, and are associated with a higher risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Also, certain psychological traits, such as the ability to make unusual or bizarre associations are shared by schizophrenics and healthy, highly creative people.

Read the entire article here.

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