November 08, 2012
More Mental Illness For People In Creative Professions

Swedish researchers have further confirmed the stereotype.

People in creative professions are treated more often for mental illness than the general population, there being a particularly salient connection between writing and schizophrenia. This according to researchers at Karolinska Institutet, whose large-scale Swedish registry study is the most comprehensive ever in its field.

1.2 million patients plus relatives and controls were used. A large fraction of the total Swedish population.

Are milder forms of mental illness helpful in coming up with creative ideas? Do altered states of mind enhance creative thinking? I'd like to see controls for IQ and other cognitive attributes. Scientists, for example, are smarter than the average person. Do some of the IQ-boosting genes cause more mental illness as a side effect?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 November 08 09:22 PM 

PacRim Jim said at November 9, 2012 10:18 AM:

What's the causal relationship.
Mental illness --> Creativity
Creativity --> Mental illness

Kai Jones said at November 9, 2012 12:25 PM:

Or what if creatives are just more *willing* to seek treatment for mental illness?

Randall Parker said at November 9, 2012 10:51 PM:


What if creative people are just more willing to think up crazy thoughts that drive them crazy?

PacRim Jim,

I suspect it is more like:

Mental illness > creativity.

Could be that creativity was selected for and mental illness was a side effect.

Phil said at November 10, 2012 1:59 AM:

Or could it be that

What we call Sanity is a Mental Illness


what we call Mental Illness may sometimes be Sanity?

JayMan said at November 10, 2012 11:41 AM:

Another to the pile of evidence that shows that the reason that mental illnesses are so common is because their mild forms are beneficial.

gcochran said at November 19, 2012 5:59 PM:

Want to bet?

JayMan said at December 3, 2012 6:32 PM:


Sure, if that was directed at me, I'll take a dollar bet. :)

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