A recent medical research has triggered the discontent of many psychiatrists after suggesting that creativity is a mental illness, scientists claim. The conclusion was reached after medical experts have closely observed the psychological behavior of creative people.
Scientists grounded their study on the belief that creative geniuses have always suffered from mental illnesses. Is the case of famous musicians, writers and painters, so psychiatrists wanted to find out whether there is a direct link between an individual’s artistic drive and his mental problems.
For that matter, researchers at the Harvard University subjected 86,000 Icelanders to a series of tests with the intention to compare their genetic data with their medical information. Statistics have shown that there is a strong link between creativity and mental illnesses for 25 percent of the respondents.
Based on the information provided by medical experts, the mental illnesses that are more often associated with creativity are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These two affections appear to be more often among people with high creative skills, than among individuals, who normally carry out non-artistic activities.
Psychiatrists have also provided a list of the non-creative activities to enable people to make a comparison. In their opinion, sales activities, farming and laboring duties are usually less related to creativity and, hence these individuals don’t run the risk of suffering from possible mental illnesses.
Scientists have further looked into the medical data of those respondents belonging to an artistic society. They have thus, discovered that people, who belong to these groups have 17 percent more chances of developing schizophrenia or other similar mental illnesses.
Kari Stefansson, the founder of the research group, told the press that the findings of the research were mainly grounded on the idea that creative people think differently. He further added that these people are usually labeled as crazy, strange and insane.
Some scientists have strongly contested Stefansson’s findings as, in their opinion, the study does not provide real explanations as to why these people should be labeled as such. Simply because these people think differently does not mean they are mentally challenged.
In addition, stating that someone is strange and unusual presupposes the existence of a ‘normality’ standard, whereas medical investigations can only say whether an individual is sane or not. If a person does not show signs of any mental illnesses it would not be fair to say that the respective person is ‘strange’ simply because it has been endowed with an artistic capacity.
Albert Rothenberg, professor at the Harvard University has been among the first to state that the study is not conclusive. He explained his beliefs by saying that people who belong to certain artistic groups and their works are usually judged according to non-creative criteria.
Moreover, the concepts of ‘creativity’ and ‘creative person’ are most of the time wrongfully understood as abstract notions, when, in fact, these may just as well account for very down-to-earth individuals, who simply use different thought processes. Rothenberg further suggested that medical researchers should rather focus on the identification of the thought processes that these people normally use.
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