Creative people can be a bit crazy: Scientists believe schizophrenia and bipolar disorder might share genetic roots with creativity.

A possible genetic link between creativity and schizophrenia/bipolar disorder cannot be accurately defined in scientific terminology. However, researches often regard a person as being creative if he or she has a superior and distinct cognitive process.

In ordinary terms, people who use their mind to shape thoughts and emotions in a way that is different from the regular patterns of thinking is said to be creative.

Psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, tend to alter the modes of emotional reasoning and thinking, thus affecting the cognitive skills of the affected individuals.

Schizophrenia/bipolar Disorder And Creativity: Creative People Can Be A Bit Crazy

Studies published previously had identified a link between psychiatric disorders and creativeness, but could not establish a genetic association. Scientists now believe that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder might share genetic roots with creativity.

According to a study conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, certain genes could very well increase the risk of developing these disorders.

Previous studies had confirmed that bipolar disorder in particular showed familial clustering, especially in families which had creative professionals. However, confounding variables such as common environmental factors and socioeconomic status could not be over-ruled earlier.

According to this new study published in Nature Neuroscience, genes seem to have a direct influence of psychiatric disorders.

The study consisted of 86,292 individuals chosen from among the general population of Iceland. Data was also collected from researchers from decode Genetics, who collaborated in the study. Creative individuals were categorized as those affiliated with the National Artistic Societies of Actors, Musicians, Dancers, Writers and Visual Arts.

Results of the study revealed the genetic risk scores of such individuals to be significantly higher. Scores were found to be approximately halfway between individuals affected by the disorders and the population in general. These findings support the theory that genetic determinants, as opposed to external factors, play an important role in the development of psychiatric disorders.

First author, Robert Power, from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, had said: “For most psychiatric disorders little is known about the underlying biological pathways that lead to illness. By knowing which healthy behaviors (such as creativity) share their biology with psychiatric illnesses, we gain a better understanding of the thought processes that lead a person to become ill, and how the brain might be going wrong. Our findings suggest that creative people may have a genetic predisposition towards thinking differently which, when combined with other harmful biological or environmental factors, could lead to mental illness.”