— Black Dog Institute (@blackdoginst) July 21, 2015
What did they find?
Study results suggest that creative people may have a genetic predisposition towards thinking differently which, when combined with other harmful biological or environmental factors, leaves them more vulnerable to mental illness. The genetic risk scores for both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were significantly higher in those defined as ‘creative’, with scores estimated as about halfway between the general population and those with actual disorders. Painters, musicians, writers and dancers were about 25% more likely to carry the gene variants than were those in less creative professions, such as farmers, manual labourers and salespeople.
The findings from this study were supported by conclusions from four other studies. These studies, involving around 35,000 people in the Netherlands and Sweden, also compared genetic risk profiles of members of the general public with the profiles of those in artistic occupations.
What does this mean for me?
These findings indicate that there is a direct influence of genetic factors on creativity; that creative people seem to have a genetic predisposition towards thinking differently which, if combined with other harmful biological or environmental factors, heightens their risk of developing mental illness.