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Author Topic: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'  (Read 3223 times)

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Offline ShoresTopic starter

Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« on: May 30, 2010, 11:07:01 AM »
From here

Quote
Creativity is akin to insanity, say scientists who have been studying how the mind works.

Brain scans reveal striking similarities in the thought pathways of highly creative people and those with schizophrenia.

Both groups lack important receptors used to filter and direct thought.

It could be this uninhibited processing that allows creative people to "think outside the box", say experts from Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

In some people, it leads to mental illness.

But rather than a clear division, experts suspect a continuum, with some people having psychotic traits but few negative symptoms.

...

"Creativity is uncomfortable. It is their dissatisfaction with the present that drives them on to make changes.

Creative people, like those with psychotic illnesses, tend to see the world differently to most. It's like looking at a shattered mirror. They see the world in a fractured way."

Offline GlompNinja

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 01:54:37 AM »
I concur. Particularly with the last couple of lines, this fractured view of life is not a perfect description of how I look at things but its pretty close.


Offline Red Tressed Imp

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2010, 11:39:17 AM »
This makes prefect sense to me, especially when you consider that some of the most successful creative types were also mentally ill.

Emily Dickinson was agoraphobic.
Kim Basinger has an anxiety disorder.
Carly Simon suffers from depression.
Charles Schulz had depression and anxiety disorders.
Vincent Van Gogh had, at the least, an anxiety disorder.
Sylvia Path had depression.
Salvador Dali was schizophrenic and depressive. He may also have been paranoid, as well having antisocial, histrionic, and narcissistic disorders.
John Quincy Adams had depression.
Ludwig van Beethoven was bipolar.
Winston Churchill had bipolar and dyslexia.
Charles Darwin had a panic disorder.
Ernest Hemingway had depression.
Abraham Lincoln had severe clinical depression.
Isaac Newton was bipolar.
Pablo Picasso and Edgar Allan Poe both suffered from depression.

There's actually a REALLY long list of creative people who have had mental illnesses, so I won't list them all. And then, of course, there is this quote, which I find interesting:

"There is no great genius without a tincture of madness." -- Seneca

Offline Oniya

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Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2010, 12:06:57 PM »
And with that, I feel compelled to add my absolute favorite poem:

Much Madness is Divinest Sense
To the discerning Eye.
Much Sense the Starkest Madness
'T is the Majority

In this as All prevail,
Assent and you are Sane
Demure, you're straightway Dangerous
And handled with a Chain.

-Emily Dickinson.

Offline Kurzyk

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2010, 12:07:23 PM »
*is happily certifiable*

Yea.. from a clinical psychiatric perspective every human has some kind of disorder of some kind or another...

But a good treatment is not to discourage creative thinking, or being outside of the box no matter what it might 'mimic', but to help establish and maintain balance so the person can function.

Offline Red Tressed Imp

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2010, 12:22:54 PM »
But a good treatment is not to discourage creative thinking, or being outside of the box no matter what it might 'mimic', but to help establish and maintain balance so the person can function.

Yeah, that's my goal. Being creative is wonderful, and I don't even mind being "certifiable," except that it prevents me from accomplishing what I need to.

Offline Caela

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2010, 02:56:47 PM »
My only real question would be, how are they defining "creative"? That definition could skew their results radically if too broad or too narrow.

Offline Kate

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 08:18:27 AM »
"Both groups lack important receptors used to filter and direct thought."

Filter what from what ? Direct ? Channel towards what ?

What is important to be filtered out for dominate intentions to be easily juggled without distractions are relationships and coincidences that are a magic for more alien ones.

Exploring new ones is more interesting than refining existing ones in most peoples books.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 12:26:49 PM »
It makes sense. Generally, 'creative' people are the folks that stand there and say, "There must be a better way" when a lot of people around them are saying, "But it ain't broke!". Thinking outside the box (or whatever trope you want to use) requires a certain amount of social awkwardness, and often the creative process happens because you can't turn your brain off. Isn't that part of the very definition of schizophrenia? I've seen it in the few truly brilliant - also generally uncomfortable - people I've met. Creativity is driven by being uncomfortable in your own skin, in your own world, in your own paradigm.

I think we've all had moments where we were touched by this sort of thing, especially for the more dedicated writers. How many times have you laid in bed, awake far later than you should be, and finally had to get up out of bed and write down that post, that story, whatever - so that your brain will leave you alone and let you sleep?

Offline Red Tressed Imp

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010, 12:40:54 PM »
How many times have you laid in bed, awake far later than you should be, and finally had to get up out of bed and write down that post, that story, whatever - so that your brain will leave you alone and let you sleep?

I do this, but it isn't limited to sleep. I'll be trying to work on something that I have a deadline for, and I'll suddenly realize, hours later, that I had just been sitting there thinking. I was telling a friend of mine that I was stressed, and he suggested meditation. So I learned about it and sat down on my bedroom floor to focus on my breathing. I couldn't do it... my thoughts kept turning to something else.


Offline Caela

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2010, 07:38:19 PM »
I do this, but it isn't limited to sleep. I'll be trying to work on something that I have a deadline for, and I'll suddenly realize, hours later, that I had just been sitting there thinking. I was telling a friend of mine that I was stressed, and he suggested meditation. So I learned about it and sat down on my bedroom floor to focus on my breathing. I couldn't do it... my thoughts kept turning to something else.

Just a quick hijack...You can use that lol. I had the same problem when I was learning to meditate. The standard of focusing on my breathing didn't work, my mind wanted to spin a millions miles a minute. You can use that as well as your breathing. Let it roam, don't try to control it, just let it run as it wills with nothing to contain it and let your body relax while you do it. I prefer to meditate laying down than sitting up, I find it more calming. For me, it takes a bit of time, but eventually all the thoughts I've been chaining up because I was "focusing" on something else finally run out of steam and I do end up just feeling myself breathing and the flow of energy running through my body. It's amazing how hyper-aware of your body you can become when your mind finally feels free to just "rest".

/End hijack.

Offline Caela

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2010, 07:41:03 PM »
It makes sense. Generally, 'creative' people are the folks that stand there and say, "There must be a better way" when a lot of people around them are saying, "But it ain't broke!". Thinking outside the box (or whatever trope you want to use) requires a certain amount of social awkwardness, and often the creative process happens because you can't turn your brain off. Isn't that part of the very definition of schizophrenia? I've seen it in the few truly brilliant - also generally uncomfortable - people I've met. Creativity is driven by being uncomfortable in your own skin, in your own world, in your own paradigm.

I think we've all had moments where we were touched by this sort of thing, especially for the more dedicated writers. How many times have you laid in bed, awake far later than you should be, and finally had to get up out of bed and write down that post, that story, whatever - so that your brain will leave you alone and let you sleep?

I'm not sure I entirely agree with this, only because the most creative people I know, are also the most comfortable in their own skins. Now granted they are not necessarily "mainstream normal" but they are fully o.k. with their differentness, and embrace it. Few are socially awkward, in fact most are very outgoing, friendly, and easy to get along with, they seem to draw people to them often.

I will agree with the bit about the mind not turning off though...every creative person I've ever met complains about that.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2010, 08:30:43 PM »
Perhaps I should have put "or" in between the "your own"s? Or perhaps, as mentioned earlier, your definition of 'creative' is not the same as mine. I don't know what your background is in - perhaps art, or theatre, where people are adept at seeming/being social? Mine is hard science, where many of the most brilliant people are also the most socially awkward.

Offline Will

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2010, 09:24:21 PM »
Plenty of creative minds in history (both artistic and scientific) were antisocial/misanthropic/awkward or just plain preferred to be alone.

Maybe the tendency toward "differentness" that leads to some people being more creative has a tendency to make them feel like outsiders, but many of them overcome it.  *shrugs* I dunno.

Offline electrichigh

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2010, 04:14:37 PM »
I can totally buy that there is a link between the two, from the amount of research done there are a lot of collaborating states of minds that correlate to certain abilities. While at the same time I am in no way suggesting that you have to be smart or creative to be schizophrenic, but the brain pathways and the processes involved in creativity are the same as those involved in imagination and lies. All of the three are important components of the higher centers of the brain that are shown to be over active in schizophrenia. While I can't really support anything that article says, it is yet again the media taking scientific research and twisting it for their own use. A tentative link between creativity and schizophrenia has been established however saying that creativity is akin to insanity is bull.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2010, 05:36:32 PM »
While creativity is linked to mental illness, it doesn't follow that mental illness is linked to creativity. Some people are just mentally ill.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2010, 06:42:39 PM »
Alternatively, the two may each be related to some third cause that manifests in different ways in different people.

Offline electrichigh

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2010, 06:47:08 PM »
There is also strong evidence that you have to have a genetic predisposistion to develop a mental illness. The combination of genes, the enviornment your are in, as well as many of others things are all complecated factors in mental illness. At the end of the day all this study does is back up the fact that we know, there are a higher incidence of creativity in those that are mentally ill compared to standard population. What we do not know is how or why there seems to be some sort of relationship between the two.

Offline Will

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2010, 06:51:19 PM »
Yeah, correlation =/= causation.  But it's not surprising to see the writers trying to play it up as such. :(

Offline electrichigh

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2010, 06:54:39 PM »
Studying science I've seen so many times where the media will take reports and blow them up so far all the truth is lost. I suspect its a case of over doing it on the par of the media again rather than the researchers saying that creativeness = insanity

Offline Caela

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2010, 07:19:24 PM »
Perhaps I should have put "or" in between the "your own"s? Or perhaps, as mentioned earlier, your definition of 'creative' is not the same as mine. I don't know what your background is in - perhaps art, or theatre, where people are adept at seeming/being social? Mine is hard science, where many of the most brilliant people are also the most socially awkward.

Could very well be. The most creative people I know are indeed drawn to more "art" oriented types of creativity as opposed to scientific forms of creativity. I wonder how much of a difference that makes in the brain pathways used. Or perhaps those drawn more to the arts seem to be more social and accepting of their own differences since many arts are, inherently, more social than many sciences. Theatre for example is a group effort and requires the group to be in a setting that is very social in nature and then to perform before even more people; while an experiment in a lab might be a group effort as well, those efforts are often made with each person doing their own individual part without necessarily needing to interact as much with the rest of the group.

And of course you still have the question of what parameters they used to define "creative" as well. Do they consider crafty people creative? Or scientists trying to make that next breakthrough in their field? Or did they only look at people in areas such as theatre?

Offline pimpdan

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2010, 07:48:01 PM »
Interesting, at first when I read the first post I took it to mean that it was this mimicry of Schizophrenia that allowed creative people to act, write and imagine what somebody else would experience and feel as they would 'adopt' that character's persona to do this effectively. I never even saw it as a link between mental illness and creativity. Just funny how the media saw it as bad thing when it could easily be just the secret behind how people can create deeper characters in their mind.

Oh and i never really thought of scientists being creative, more logical and perceptive than anything. Not that they can't be creative aswell.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2010, 07:51:25 PM »
Scientists that discover new things/theories/etc. are typically very creative.  You have to look outside the box in order to find something that no one else has thought of.

Offline Caela

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2010, 08:43:12 PM »
Interesting, at first when I read the first post I took it to mean that it was this mimicry of Schizophrenia that allowed creative people to act, write and imagine what somebody else would experience and feel as they would 'adopt' that character's persona to do this effectively. I never even saw it as a link between mental illness and creativity. Just funny how the media saw it as bad thing when it could easily be just the secret behind how people can create deeper characters in their mind.

Oh and i never really thought of scientists being creative, more logical and perceptive than anything. Not that they can't be creative aswell.

A lot of people don't automatically think of scientists as creative but, like Oniya said, the inventors and creators are very creative types. EX. How far outside the "box" did Edison have to think to come up with a lightbulb and imagine that it could be made commonplace???

Offline Yin

Re: Creative minds 'mimic schizophrenia'
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2010, 09:49:28 PM »
Studying science I've seen so many times where the media will take reports and blow them up so far all the truth is lost. I suspect its a case of over doing it on the par of the media again rather than the researchers saying that creativeness = insanity