Talk:Creativity and mental illness

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Questionable concepts[edit]

Bah. All this research shows is that the modern construct of "bipolar disorder" is very similar to our centuries old notion of how artists should act. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BrownApple (talkcontribs) 01:52, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

The concept of creativity covers much wider ground than merely individuals with bipolar disorder. Every person has the ability to be creative. There is no logical resaon for them to be linked together.

I can accept that there's no logical reason... But at least since the rise of Romanticism, we've idolized and encouraged representations of artists as emotionally and mentally unstable people. The romantics, of course, thought this instability was a sign of a deeper and more pronounced connection to humanity's emotional core (or something like that). If we'd stuck with the Englightenment ideal of the rational artist (e.g. DaVinci), things might look very different. —Preceding unsigned comment added by User:Nahum Reduta 03:16, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the portrayal of artists, scientists, and other creative professions would likely be different if DaVinci had remained the ideal. But the sheer amount of Leo's accomplishments, scientific and artistic, are perhaps a good representation of hypomania (obviously this is just an opinion). Also you seem to suggest that mental illness, in particular bipolar disorder, would be something of which the public would be aware. I disagree and would suggest that bipolar disorder is an illness that causes extreme feelings of shame, which would undoubtedly result in secrecy. As the world becomes more and more modernized, one's privacy, particularly public figures' privacy, diminishes leading to a greater visibility of mental illness (not to mention the effects of establishing and advancing psychiatry), and consequently a stronger public opinion of the link between creativity and bipolar disorder. Though the extent to which bipolar disorder is linked to creativity is likely exaggerated in the minds of most, it is my opinion that the disorder variably increases the creativity of all with the illness instead of merely having a greater percentage of highly creative individuals. p.s. this article really requires someone who has dedicated a great deal of his/her life to the topic to avoid exactly the kind of speculation I just spewed out. - Teek (November 03, 2008) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:12, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

citations needed and articles that don't exist[edit]

The article requires citations. If material cannot be producted to support various statements, those statements should be deleted. Several of the articles "cited" are not available as cited, and so that material should also be deleted unless an interested editor can find material that meets the wikipedia standard of being verifiable. DPetersontalk 23:15, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Major rewrite needed[edit]

This article is in an extremely poor condition. As DPeterson says, proper cites are required for the assertions in the article: the current "works cited" format is less than ideal. -- The Anome 20:44, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The reference, "* Jamison, Kay Redfield, "Manic-Depressive Illness and Creativity," Mysteries of the Mind, February 1995" is not a valid source to support the "scientific" statements made in this encyclopedia article. The book is not peer-reviewed, not an empirical study, and merely a collection of essays and unfounded theories. DPetersontalk 14:04, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
For research to be scientific an empirical study is not a prerequisite, especially in social sciences. --Grace E. Dougle 15:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Regardless, the book is merely a collection of essays and unfounded opinion. DPetersontalk 17:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Maybe people should make some effort to check and cite the existing references? I think there are about 6 references listed that aren't linked into the article. --Zeraeph 15:53, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Good point. DPetersontalk 17:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Note that DPeterson has deleted the references Zeraeph mentioned just minutes after finding his idea a 'good point' on here. --Grace E. Dougle 17:39, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Also note that "deleting" was NOT the approach Zeraeph had in mind when mentioning them... --Zeraeph 18:05, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I would like to see some of Prof Ruth Richards' work in here, which focusses on identifying and measuring creativity, rather than characterising bipolar sufferers. Her book with Prof Mark Runco, "Eminent Creativity,Everyday Creativity and Health has two entire sections on this issue. Interestingly, her recent work on a "Lifetime Creativity Scale" found that the most creative people were actually those who were closely related to bipolar sufferers, not the sufferers themselves. She hypothesises that mild hypomania (or what Cziksentmihalyi would call "flow") is indeed essential to creativity. Chelseamisscandy (talk) 13:08, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Resolving the issues[edit]

Just an idea, but I don't have any preformed ideas or opinions on the topic of the article (except that, until it is established with me as a topic at all I am not sure if it should BE an article), I just floated in on a current of free association from a couple of other articles. Perhaps a good way to resolve this would be to try and "sell" me on your own opinions, and see who wins?

Let me point out that I'm only swayed by hard evidence I can check out for myself, and any kind of "politic" tends to prejudice me. So, even just for interest, why not make your cases and show me your evidence? --Zeraeph 18:14, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

This article is a wreck. Sources have been used that are "dead links." The article is just not supported with reputable citations or references. MarkWood 22:59, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Note: the article has been substantially rewritten from scratch since this comment. -- The Anome 14:29, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I have an idea on how to reformat the article even further.

First there seems to be a number of mental illnesses that are anecdotally linked with creativity. To address this, as sufficient information supporting or refuting the connection with specific illness is acquired, let's create a section that addresses the specific link, or lack thereof.
Second, lets add or incorporate into an existing section, a discussion about the current challenges psychiatry faces establishing an answer to the question "Is there a linke between mental illness X and creativity?" As one reads some of the depression and creativity studies I've provided links to below you'll see acknowledgments of the limitations of the studies, by their own authors. In short, if a limitation of a study is important enough for the author to mention, it's important enough to consider mentioning in the article body.
Finally, as I read the discussion, the following question/idea comes to mind. If we adopt a policy of "one section per proposed mental illness and creativity link", should we also adopt a discussion area policy of grouping lists of related articles into their own sections within the discussion? (e.g. Schizophrenia and creativity articles would get their own section, and so would articles exploring the links between creativity and depression...etc)
-- Jason C Daniels 19:12, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Psychiatric Times article[edit]

I've found an excellent article published in Psychiatric Times in 2005, which cites a considerable number of sources:

Dean Keith Simonton (June 2005). "Are Genius and Madness Related? Contemporary Answers to an Ancient Question". Psychiatric Times. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 

The list of citations given at the end of this Psychiatric Times article looks like a good place to start in a literature search on this topic. -- Karada 11:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Here are some articles in a peer reviewed journal discussing the link between depression and creativity. (Feel free to add to the list.) -- Jason C Daniels 19:12, 2 April 2007 (UTC)


Perhaps we should also have some material on the recently suggested links between schizophrenia and creativity, and move this article to creativity and mental illness? -- The Anome 12:59, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

That would be good...but only if there are reputable citations to support the claims. The book, Touched With Fire, for example, is not an empirical study and while interesteding, is hardly a stronlgy supportive source. MarkWood 13:05, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

In the case of bipolar disorder, several other sources are also cited, which are published in peer-reviewed journals. TWF is important because of its influence on public perception of the postulated link, and its effect on public opinion and later research.

Regarding the postulated link between schizophrenia and creativity, a quick Medline search for "schizophrenia creativity" finds numerous papers, although I haven't got time to go through them now: until we have properly cited sources, I'm not going to address the suggested schizophrenia link. -- The Anome 14:06, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Blimey, I just noticed the edit summary on "Creativity and Bipolar" schizophrenia and flipped through to suggest the possibility of renaming!
Now THAT is censensus. Perhaps by telepathy?
We are borg, you will be assimilated :o) --Zeraeph 15:28, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Here's what appears (superficially) to be a well written, peer reviewed article online regarding the possible link between Schizophrenia and creativity. :: -- Jason C Daniels 18:16, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Those under treatment[edit]

Since I began taking drugs to help me cope with bipolar disorder, I have indeed noticed that my creativity has decreased. For years I have kept a catalogue of ideas I intend to develop; lately my catalogue has been receiving fewer and briefer entries, and I find myself disinterested in what has been committed to file. I have also found it harder to concentrate and recall how I came across a line of reasoning.

I know my personal account doesn't belong in the article, but I hope that at the very least, others could chime in about their experiences. This could also be another direction to follow with the article: that of contemporary people finding their creativity affected either by their illnesses or their treatment. Writers of antiquity probably didn't comment on their emotional experiences, much less how they were affected. —Nahum Reduta (talk) 03:16, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I also take drugs to manage episodes of bipolar disorder. I think the changes for me on medication have been 1. less impulsivity - less urge to go off on tangents and take up projects 2. better concentration and ability to carry through projects more grandiosity and feelings that what I do is significant and creative I agree with Nahum that discussions about how people find their creativity can be useful. I am a clinical psychologist and I work with people learning to manage bipolar disorder. The choice to take medication or not often revolves around how people think the medication would affect their work and relationshipsGingercat2941 (talk) 12:24, 14 January 2011 (UTC)User:Meg Smith. 14 January 2011

I also take medication and even before I got diagnosed I was always very creative I am a musician among other things I have friends who have mental Illness some are not creative at all while others are very some are creative and also think out of the box and see the world different I know from experience And also from people I meet and know also people without any sort of illness can be creative I think the discusson here is yes you don't have to have a mental illness to be creative Just look at history — Preceding unsigned comment added by Insightin (talkcontribs) 16:29, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I can also echo this sentiment. But there seems to be a reciprocal relationship between inspiration/creativity and the wherewithal to actually bring these ideas to fruition. I no longer pace around my house coming up with novel "theories of everything" but I can sit down to do my job. Maybe one day I can look back on my "catalogue of ideas" (I keep one as well :P), and have the patience/dedication to actually make one of them. Up until recently, I was very fortunate to hold a research position where novel thinking is a much cherished and enviable ability. However, when it turned out I didn't have the discipline to carry any of these novel ideas out, the patience of my colleagues grew very thin. Medication can help us find a golden mean, allowing us to transcend beyond the "crazy relative of creative genius" role that so many of our ancestors embodied. We should be so grateful to have that opportunity. (talk) 17:05, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Politesse meant for public consumption[edit]

The idea that bipolar people are creative is, in my decades of experience dealing with them, rubbish. They make almighty mountains of bad art, not because they're driven by creative insights. It's simply because they can't hold down jobs. Secondly, this article starts off saying great figures of history have been bipolar but the list provided instead actually says 'may have been' and a lot of them aren't artists. For example, the very first one is a shooting victim. This does not make him an artist.

Bipolar people are special in the same way that people with broken legs are special. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Contrarily, there is firm evidence for increased creativity in bipolar disorder, as measured by word association test, for example and people carrying genes that predispose to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are more likely to work in creative professions. Furthermore, people who excel in school performance are about four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder. RandomPerson (talk) 23:50, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

Anecdotal, not science[edit]

Since the 1960s at least, the idea that creativity and bipolar has been around, and certainly madness and creativity is an older schema popular in fiction. However, this article is full if "may have" and "supposed" and "suspected". Sorry, this isn't science. I move to shorten the article and make it a smaller part of a larger text, possibly about the representation of mental illness/bipolar in society and art.

The poster above's comments are acerbic but may indicate a statistical bias in why we associate bipolar with creativity: bipolar patients don't gravitate toward maths-heavy employment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:49, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


Unfortunately, none of the full reviews are free, but we should be able to get quite a bit just from the abstracts. MichaelExe (talk) 02:05, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

New scientific study shows a link between creativity and mental illness

Thinking Outside a Less Intact Box; Thalamic Dopamine D2 Receptor Densities Are Negatively Related to Psychometric Creativity in Healthy Individuals PLoS ONE, online 17 May 2010

Creativity and schizotypal[edit]

plenty of material on google about this

--Penbat (talk) 20:46, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

creativity and dyslexia[edit]

its often thought that dyslexics are often particularly creative. --Penbat (talk) 14:08, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Famous People as a section?[edit]

The section lists just a handful of people. That list could easily go on as an entire article, if it'd be of value to wikipedia. (talk) 22:27, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

At the very least, this article needs a "Criticism" section.[edit]

There are plenty of nice anecdotes about the "mad genius" hypothesis but more rigorous analysis points to the possibility that this is just confirmation bias. This article is written like it's an empirical fact but at best it is a debated topic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:39, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Also: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:25, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

{request edit}[edit]

I'd like to request an edit with this page in the opening paragraph.

The opening paragraph reads: "Parallels can be drawn to connect creativity to major mental disorders including: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and ADHD. For example, numerous studies have demonstrated correlations between creative occupations and people living with mental illness. There are cases that support the idea that mental illness can aid in creativity, but there is also strong support that mental illness does not have to be present for creativity to exist."

I would like to request that "mental disorders" be changed to "mental illnesses" as this is the terminology that is used throughout the mental health and addictions medical world and "mental disorders" suggests that someone suffering from this illness has a disorder - which as defined is a disruption of a normal physical or mental function. The illnesses listed are illnesses like any other.

Thanks kindly in advance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

Positive mood does not inhibit creativity[edit]

This heading is kind of silly in my opinion. The text below provides evidence that isn't strong enough to support this claim, so having a heading that has this level of certainty is misleading. I think it should be changed to "correlation between mood and creativity" or something to that effect. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tightopal (talkcontribs) 14:39, 11 December 2017 (UTC)