What is it about?

We conducted an analysis of published biographies of world-class creative artists and scientists for the presence of life-time mental illness. Compared to norms and eminent but less creative athletes we found that artists had elevated rates of alcoholism, anxiety disorder, drug abuse, and depression. Scientists generally did not differ from eminent athletes or norms on categories of mental illness.

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Why is it important?

This study adds to the more nuanced understanding of the relationship between eminent creativity and mental illness---the relationship depends on degree and domain of creativity as well as degree and domain of psychopathology.

Perspectives

Our intent was to update and add clarity to the disputed topic of creativity and mental illness. We think this study and its findings do that.

Gregory Feist
San Jose State University

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This page is a summary of: Psychopathology in world-class artistic and scientific creativity., Psychology of Aesthetics Creativity and the Arts, October 2021, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/aca0000440.
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