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Medicine Science

Creativity Potentially Linked To Schizophrenia 215

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the better-make-a-few-more-loony-bins dept.
mcgrew writes "New Scientist is reporting that creativity may be linked to schizophrenia via a common gene. Szabolcs Kéri, a researcher at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, carried a study of creative people. 'Kéri examined a gene involved in brain development called neuregulin 1, which previous studies have linked to a slightly increased risk of schizophrenia. Moreover, a single DNA letter mutation that affects how much of the neuregulin 1 protein is made in the brain has been linked to psychosis, poor memory and sensitivity to criticism. About 50 per cent of healthy Europeans have one copy of this mutation, while 15 per cent possess two copies. People with two copies of the neuregulin 1 mutation — about 12 per cent of the study participants — tended to score notably higher on these measures of creativity, compared with other volunteers with one or no copy of the mutation. Those with one copy were also judged to be more creative, on average, than volunteers without the mutation.' They hypothesize that people with this gene with high IQs are creative, while those with lower IQs are simply prone to the hallucinations that characterize the disease."
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Creativity Potentially Linked To Schizophrenia

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  • Crazy Chef Sato (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:01PM (#28735549) Homepage Journal

    This was on the menu of my favorite Restaurant throughout the 1990s in Beaverton, OR (It died when Tektronix scaled back):

    Eight out of ten people are normal
    One maybe genius,
    One maybe crazy,
    I hesitate to call myself genius,
    That leaves only one choice

    Easily the most creative Japanese/American fusion chef I've ever met.

    • by Itninja (937614)
      Given the name "Marxist Hacker" I would concur with your conclusions.
      • I miss his Chicken Cheese Katsu, both dinner and lunch versions. When I was contracting at Tek I'd go to his restaurant every day, and I was lucky enough to try everything on his menu.

        I wish I had his knife skills- it's hard to cut a pocket in a boneless chicken breast.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eli Gottlieb (917758)

      And here's today's fortune-cookie quote:

      The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius

      • I like that- it explains quite succinctly the main problem I've seen with the free market (that which is good, does not sell; that which is utter crap in a nice package, you'll earn millions off of).

        • So your problem with the free market is that you can't take your totally subjective tastes and standards and force them down other people's throats?

          Don't get me wrong, I'm a consumer minority too, and it does suck. But it's not a problem specific to markets. If a planning authority dictated that resources be allocated to create quality products to fulfill our uncommon demands, there wouldn't be enough well-packaged utter crap to go around for everyone else.

          Someone has to lose; economic systems only decide

          • No, his problem is that objective methods of measurement are irrelevant in a free market, because of marketing and human nature make it so the louder, most garish voice wins out.

    • Actually I would say that creativity and insanity really ARE the same thing, just the people we call crazy got a little... TOO creative and with things like their interpretation of gravity and who (or what) they think would be a good conversationalist.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blincoln (592401)

        Maybe. But having met people who really did have schizophrenia, I'm a little dubious of this theory (which I've heard before). To use a computer analogy, my perception of their experience was not just that their brains started producing/storing inaccurate data, but that the program code was also not working as intended. One of the most striking examples was their speech patterns, where in certain cases they would say things that had the timbre and cadence of normal English speech, but if you actually paid a

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ShakaUVM (157947)

          If random corruption of "data" and "program code" in the brain is the root of creativity, then it seems to me that creativity is a very inefficient, brute-force method, which is only practical in people without schizophrenia because our brains have the processing power to discard (at some subconscious layer) the huge number of results that aren't worth pursuing.

          I think that creativity is the ability to make associations/connections in unusual or unexpected ways. This can be good - applying, say, buddhist ph

        • One of the most striking examples was their speech patterns, where in certain cases they would say things that had the timbre and cadence of normal English speech, but if you actually paid attention it didn't make any sense - it was just nonsensical syllables strung together in a pattern that superficially sounded like English.

          So in other words, they were speaking Dutch.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hedwards (940851)
          That wouldn't be correct. It's not gibberish, the way that it looks, it's not that much different than speaking perl rather than English. It means something to the person, and the connections between the phrases has definite meaning, it's just meant for other people to not understand what it is that they're saying. But simultaneously, they'll frequently want for the person they're speaking to to be able to understand it.

          I've had full out psychotic breaks where the doctors involved referred to my diagnosi
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by OrigamiMarie (1501451)
          Dreams! I have heard that one compelling theory for what's going on in dreams is random associations between the day's events and the existing memories. Today's events find places to live and connections to the rest of your reality kind of randomly, by brute-forcing lots of stuff while you sleep. This is why people go into random-association mode when they are highly sleep deprived; the brain is trying to just do the same work while you walk because it needs to every so often. We are good at making semi
        • by sjames (1099)

          There are, of course degrees. The word salad could be a related aphasia or a great many false associations built up over time assigning false meanings to the words (such that they actually make sense to him).

          It could also just be the result of years with a complete lack of internal negative feedback. False associations pop up in the brain all the time. Many are suppressed before they even rise to conscious thought. Others do make it to conscious thought and are promptly dismissed ("What in the &*^%

      • Re:Crazy Chef Sato (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:13PM (#28736227) Homepage Journal

        That reminds me of a slightly lower functioning autistic (I have Asperger's and I'm into the neurodiversity movement) on youtube as of late- who insists that her behavior MUST be interpreted as communication because she's "communicating" with her environment (water, wind, sunlight, etc). Apparently nobody ever taught her that communication had to be two way with another sentient mind....

        • You realise that either of those two alone pretty much instantly concerns me. Especially since I'm someone who actually has those "diversities" FOR REAL, as in diagnosed in a clinical setting with a neurological (rather than psychological) set of disorders that make my life difficult. I'm not neurodiverse anymore than I'm disabled, I just dont function properly.

    • Re:Crazy Chef Sato (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dov_0 (1438253) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:30PM (#28735815)

      I just tell my friends that I'm half crazy. Whether that means all crazy half the time, or half crazy all the time I leave for them to decide.

      Went through a period of psychosis in my late teens, but stayed off the anti-psychotics. Took quite a while, but got back on track without the pseudo-science quackery of psychiatry. Now I run my own business and live a pretty balanced life as a respected member of my family and the community.

      Interestingly enough, the more 'artistic' (ie music) stuff I do, the more sorta crazy I get, the more I keep the artistic side in check and balanced with other things, the more 'sane' I am. Never really thought about it like that before though...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        Wow, respect! I know how incredibly hard it is to get back on track! You have my full respect! And from the notion of "quackery", I know that you really know what psychatry is. ^^
        I hope they soon are able to base psychology on a proper neurologic foundation, and can then throw away what we call psychatry, and many of thosp pseudo-therapies of psychology, and actually cure people, instead of just muting their brain functionaliy or talking and talking without results.

        About the music: If you think your stuff i

      • by citizenr (871508) on Friday July 17, 2009 @10:17PM (#28737957) Homepage
        Hi Tom Cruise!
        • So when did Tom Cruise do something creative? I must have missed that patch, perhaps it was between Mission Impossible 2 and 3?

          • So when did Tom Cruise do something creative? I must have missed that patch, perhaps it was between Mission Impossible 2 and 3?

            Nobody ever said he's creative ... however, he is a particularly cracked example of a Scientologist on an anti-psychiatry, anti-antidepressant crusade. According to him, clinical depression can be cured by exercise and eating fruit. I sincerely hope he gets diagnosed with some condition that can only be treated with medication (clinical depression would do, and maybe if we're lucky he'll off himself.) Maybe then he'll change his tune and stop trying to convince people with real problems to avoid seeking the

      • Went through a period of psychosis in my late teens, but stayed off the anti-psychotics. Took quite a while, but got back on track without the pseudo-science quackery of psychiatry. Now I run my own business and live a pretty balanced life as a respected member of my family and the community.

        Interestingly enough, the more 'artistic' (ie music) stuff I do, the more sorta crazy I get, the more I keep the artistic side in check and balanced with other things, the more 'sane' I am.

        Wow, that is really interesting. I had the same experience as you, but I'm a musician now. After playing a show, or recording, or writing for a few hours, I feel pretty disconnected, lots of thoughts and ideas just pouring through my head. I actually do crosswords, sudoku, or some programming to 'bring myself back.'

  • Ha!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:04PM (#28735569)

    "Moreover, a single DNA letter mutation that affects how much of the neuregulin 1 protein is made in the brain has been linked to psychosis, poor memory and sensitivity to criticism. About 50 per cent of healthy Europeans have one copy of this mutation, while 15 per cent possess two copies."

    This explains perfectly the past 250 years of European history.

  • by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:04PM (#28735571)
    I'm not very creative.
    The voices have much better ideas than me.
  • by otopico (32364) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:05PM (#28735577)

    Smart people can tell the voices in their head are their own thoughts, while the less intelligent think they are hearing disembodied voices, not their own?

    • Surprisingly, that's almost exactly how the psychologist Julian Jaynes explained [wikipedia.org] the origin of consciousness: people went from hearing voices, to identifying with that voice enough for it to be their "consciousness". He also believed that modern schizophrenia is a relapse to that earlier, non-conscious, "bicameral" state.

      • by Culture20 (968837)
        Except the "voices" in that bicameral state shouldn't have any words, they should be the basic human sounds (yelling, cooing, "ow/ouch", the sharp intake of breath when burned, grunting, moaning, sighing, laughing).
    • by MrHanky (141717)

      I don't think John Forbes Nash is stupid. Nor Theodore Kaczynski, as a more dangerous example. There might be a link between schizophrenia and intelligence, but it's almost certainly not simple and causal. Perhaps the ability to distinguish between crazy-thoughts and intelligent-thoughts can be considered a special kind of intelligence, and the ability to entertain crazy-thoughts without taking them too seriously is what's needed for creative genius. Many exceptionally uncreative high-IQ people seem to lack

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by snaz555 (903274)

        Perhaps the ability to distinguish between crazy-thoughts and intelligent-thoughts can be considered a special kind of intelligence, and the ability to entertain crazy-thoughts without taking them too seriously is what's needed for creative genius

        I suspect it's more that intelligent people are able to abstractly consider themselves and their own behavior, and accept they have a neurological disability. People who are purely reactive to their environment and don't proactively "push their own cart" so to speak are less likely to reason around their own behavior or ask themselves why they do what they do. The cause of schizophrenia (i.e. the inability to distinguish fantasy and their own speculative thoughts from reality) likely has nothing to do wit

    • by mevets (322601)

      that little voice inside my head that keeps asking 'is there room for one more' is really saying 'you are stupid'? I took a vote on this and 3/4s of me think its the shrinks that are stupid; the other 3/8s are demanding a recount.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Trust me, it doesn't make a difference. Well, it does, if you know the voices aren't real, it just takes a lot longer for you to crack and is several times as painful. Trust me if you've got voices that are talking to you constantly and loudly enough that you can't hear other people talking, you're not going to be able to tolerate that for too long without giving in.
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:05PM (#28735581) Journal
    My sister is diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, started with a lower iq due to learning disabilities. I'm pretty creative and intelligent. I always thought there was a link between the two. Still, its only partially genetic. It needs a stress trigger as well. There are identical twins, with one developing the disorder and the other not. The odds of one with the syndrome passing it to a direct descendant are also pretty low ~ 1% chance.
    • ...odds of one with the syndrome passing it to a direct descendant are also pretty low ~ 1% chance.

      I dunno, it always seemed that crazy ran in families.... mine for example...

      • While I understand that you're probably joking, there is crazy and then there is paranoid schizophrenia. Its like the difference between a corrupted jpeg, and a file of random data. One's broken, the other isn't even that.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      The odds of one with the syndrome passing it to a direct descendant are also pretty low ~ 1% chance.

      Well, gee, you're only completely wrong...

      In fact the heritability is quite high:

      http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/12/suppl_2/R125 [oxfordjournals.org]

      In fact I've seen numerous cases of schizophrenia passed down through several generations of offspring.

  • by flaming error (1041742) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:07PM (#28735599) Journal

    They hypothesize that people with this gene with high IQs are creative, while those with lower IQs are simply prone to the hallucinations

    Why do they hypothesize that? There are plenty of geniuses with mental health issues. Take John Nash [wikipedia.org].

    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      Why do they hypothesize that?

      Because it's facile. It's simply an indication about the people producing the hypothesis.

       

  • Crap soup (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:19PM (#28735695)

    IQ, schizophrenia, creativity, all vague concepts linked together with "hard numbers" of primitive statistics.

    Interesting information, to be sure, but let's not push that and turn it into another psychobabble.

    • Psychology 101, Life IS suffering. By continuing to live you are demonstrating your own insanity, suicides are dangerously close to sane.

      This is based upon the idea that your stated intention is to "make the world a better place" or "to achieve happiness" the outcome is the same.

      Shove your normal agenda UP YOUR ASS. Control your jealousy of people who ARE able to accept themselves and express themselves.
      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        Psychology 101, Life IS suffering.

        Let me guess, your psychology teacher was darkly clad with thick black eye-liner and long hair covering most of his face?

  • 0 copies:

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf?portlet=3 [irs.gov]

    Signature and date. Form 4506-T must be
    signed and dated by the taxpayer listed on
    line 1a or 2a. If you completed line 5
    requesting the information be sent to a
    third party, the IRS must receive Form
    4506-T within 60 days of the date signed
    by the taxpayer or it will be rejected.
    Individuals. Transcripts of jointly filed
    tax returns may be furnished to either
    spouse. Only one signature is required.
    Sign Form 4506-T exactly as your name
    appeared on the original return. If you
    changed your name, also sign your current
    name.
    Corporations. Generally, Form 4506-T
    can be signed by: (1) an officer having
    legal authority to bind the corporation, (2)
    any person designated by the board of
    directors or other governing body, or (3)
    any officer or employee on written request
    by any principal officer and attested

    1 copy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/opinion/15dowd.html [nytimes.com]

    But the barbed adjectives didn't match the muted performance on display before the Judiciary Committee. Like the president who picked her, Sotomayor has been a model of professorial rationality. Besides, it's delicious watching Republicans go after Democrats for being too emotional and irrational given the G.O.P. shame spiral.

    W. and Dick Cheney made all their bad decisions about Iraq, W.M.D.'s, domestic surveillance, torture, rendition and secret hit squads from the gut, based on false intuitions, fear, paranoia and revenge.

    Sarah Palin is the definition of irrational, a volatile and scattered country-music queen without the music. Her Republican fans defend her lack of application and intellect, happy to settle for her emotional electricity.

    Senator Graham said Sotomayor would be confirmed unless she had "a meltdown" -- a word applied mostly to women and toddlers until Mark Sanford proudly took ownership of it when he was judged about the wisdom of his Latina woman.

    2 copies:

    http://pdfoxy.com/8986-excerpt-from-harry-potter-and-the-sorcerers-stone-pdf.html [pdfoxy.com]

    "Look--" he murmured, holding out his arm to stop Malfoy. Something bright white was gleaming on the ground. They inched closer. It was the unicorn all right, and it was dead. Harry had never seen anything so beautiful and sad. Its long, slender legs were stuck out at odd angles where it had fallen and its mane was spread pearly-white on the dark leaves. Harry had taken one step toward it when a slithering sound made him freeze where he stood. A bush on the edge of the clearing quivered. . . . Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawling across the ground like some stalking beast. Harry, Malfoy, and Fang stood transfixed. The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, lowered its head over the wound in the animal's side, and began to drink its blood. "AAAAAAAAAAARGH!" Malfoy let out a terrible scream and bolted--so did Fang. The hooded figure raised its head and looked right at Harry--unicorn blood was dribbling down its front. It got to its feet and came swiftly toward Harry--he couldn't move for fear.

    .
    .
    .

    256 copies:

    http://timecube.com/ [timecube.com]

    Americans are dumb, educated ONE
    stupid and they worship ONEism Evil.
    It is not immoral to kill believers, for the stupid bastards EVOLVE from son
    or daughter who precedes them. NOT one damn human adult has ever been
    created - for ONLY babies are CREATED - and every adult has within them the LIFE given by children who DIE to give-up their lives to their parent
    image - so their mom or Dad can live. Adults are EVIL to deny they evolved from children - a

  • I thought it was known for a long time that there is a link between creativity and schizophrenia. Seems perfectly natural to me.

    Stephan

    • Its like fighter jets which are designed to be unstable. That enables them to do amazing manoeuvres fast but you have to bail out if the flight control system fails.
      • Exactly.
        Stephan

      • It's a principle for fighters that goes back long before the jet age. Perhaps the two most famous fighter planes of World War I are the Sopwith Camel and the Fokker Dr. 1 triplane. They shared a common point: they both had rotary engines, which here doesn't mean one of those Mazda things that go "mmmmmm" but rather a radial piston engine in which the crankshaft was bolted to the airframe and the propellor was attached to the engine casing. The crankshaft stayed still while the entire engine block spun.

  • What about John Forbes Nash Jr. [wikipedia.org]? [He's the genius they based the movie A Beautiful Mind on.

  • Obligatory link...

    "Screwed Up People Make Great Art [youtube.com]" by Groovelily [groovelily.com]

    Well, it's obligatory for me at least.

  • Creative/artistic type people have active imaginations?! Holy News Flash Batman! I can't wait for the story about how librarians have a gene that has been tied to OCD.
    • by petrus4 (213815)

      Creative/artistic type people have active imaginations?! Holy News Flash Batman! I can't wait for the story about how librarians have a gene that has been tied to OCD.

      I'm still waiting for the isolation of the gene which links trifocal glasses, red hair, and lesbianism in librarians, (AKA Thelma) personally. ;)

  • Not true in my case (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Friday July 17, 2009 @05:53PM (#28736035)

    Well,

    1) I have schizophrenia (paranoid delusional, no visual or auditory hallucinations).
    2) I am not creative, at all...in any artistic sense. Except maybe with words, poetry, scrabble.
    3) I have an extremely vivid and active imagination.
    4) My nervous system is very sensitive, I have to take meds to 'turn them down' so I'm relaxed.
    5) I have an IQ of 133 and an interest in math and science; degrees in physics and computer science.

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:10PM (#28736193) Homepage Journal

    History and my personal experience are full of manic-depressive artists. No substitute for statistics, of course.

    Maybe the connection is just that society drives creative people crazy.

  • I hate to make this claim without being able to cite my sources, but my access to research databases has been cut off since graduating...

    But this flies against the past 20 years of research. Nearly all studies show a strong NEGATIVE correlation between nearly all types of mental illness and creativity (as measured using a variety of scales). Schizophrenia and depression are the two that leap to mind. I know there's this popular idea that the crazies are more creative (or vice versa), but it's simply no
  • by sacremon (244448) on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:32PM (#28737377)

    "There is no great genius without a mixture of madness" - Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

    • by turing_m (1030530)
      The further you get to the right of the bell curve, the more blank looks you get when you explain something. The average person doesn't have the intellectual toolkit to distinguish a brilliant idea from a crazy idea. The methods the average person has of distinguishing genius are generally proxy measures - wealth, references by authority figures, an invention that finds common use, art that gains widespread acceptance.

      To find the truly great ideas, you have to conduct an exhaustive search - the low hangi
  • Creativity is the only thing that should be rewarded exorbitantly. Creativity. What the hell is that? The ability to make things that did not exist already. In the software business, it's called innovation. In the artistic fields, it's called authorship.
    Linked is a slippery word. It implies causation. Correlated is more like it, meaning that we judge many people with schizophrenia as being also creative at the same time. What kind of creativity?
    It could be as simple as this: persons with the diagnosis
  • How about being an antisocial knob? Does that make me special?
  • Of course (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @12:20AM (#28738447)

    Its easier to solve a problem when you put two people on it. Even if they're both in my head.

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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