This chapter explores three ’classic’ studies of creativity and mental illness. The first is Jamison whose focus is on the connection between bipolar disorder and creativity. The second is Andreasen, who used structured interviews to analyze 30 creative writers, 30 matched controls, and first-degree relatives of each group. The writers had a higher rate of mental illness, with a particular tendency toward bipolar and other affective disorders. The third major work is Ludwig, who utilized the historiometric technique. All three studies have come under serious criticism. Many of the studies of Big-C creators are historiometric, akin to Ludwig’s work. Some such studies claim that eminent creators show higher rates of mental illness. A much more common approach is to look at everyday people and give them measures of creativity and mental health. Typically, researchers look at what are called subclinical disorders—in other words, they’re not clinically significant.
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Creative people are also often seen as being outsiders and eccentric. Sen and Sharma’s examination of creativity beliefs in India tested beliefs about the Four P’s and found that creativity was more likely to be described as a holistic essence of an individual, and less likely to be focused on the product or process. Romo and Alfonso studied Spanish painters and found that one of the implicit theories that the painters held about creativity involved the role of psychological disorders. Plucker and Dana found that past histories of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco usage were not correlated with creative achievements; familial drug and alcohol use also was not significantly associated with creative accomplishments or creative personality attributes. Humphrey, McKay, Primi, and Kaufman did find that illegal drug use predicted self-reported creative behaviors even when openness to experience was controlled.Source:
The idea of the mad genius persisted all the way to modern times and was even promulgated in scientific circles. Not only was genius mad, but it was associated with criminality and genetic degeneration. The empirical research relevant to the mad-genius issue uses three major methods: the historiometric, the psychometric and the psychiatric. The historical record is replete with putative exemplars of mad genius. The mental illness adopts a more subtle but still pernicious guise-alcoholism. In fact, it sometimes appears that alcoholism is one of the necessities of literary genius. Psychopathology can be found in other forms of genius besides creative genius. Of the available pathologies, depression seems to be the most frequent, along with its correlates of suicide and alcoholism or drug abuse. Family lineages that have higher than average rates of psychopathology will also feature higher than average rates of genius.Source:
This chapter presents the most salient psychological theories of personality. Personality is a core determinant of individual differences in everyday behaviors. The chapter discusses the difference between what psychologists broadly refer to as normal and what they regard as abnormal or clinical/mental illness. If one looks for an Elvis among personality psychologists, Sigmund Freud would be the one. During the mid-20th century, behaviorism emerged as a dominant paradigm for understanding human behavior, including personality. Although the social cognitive theory of personality has its origins in the radical behaviorist tradition, it emerged in clear opposition to it. According to the lexical hypothesis, historically, the most important and socially relevant behaviors that people display will eventually become encoded into language. Indeed, personality disorders are defined as long-standing, pervasive, and inflexible patterns of behavior and inner experience that deviate from the expectations of a person’s culture.Source:
Throughout history, creators have used their skills in ways that have led to tremendous negative impact. Clark and James describe ’negative creativity’ as something that ends with a bad outcome even without a bad intention. If negative creativity is someone taking office supplies without wanting to hurt the company, then malevolent creativity is someone stealing essential company secrets to sell to its competitors with the specific desire to do harm. Malevolent creativity can be seen in terrorism and criminal behavior. Creativity is a tool that can be used for good or bad purposes. The flip side of the coin is that there are arrays of studies that show the healing powers of expressive forms of creativity. Indeed, if there is a genuine connection between creative genius and mental illness, it could easily be the creativity in their lives that kept some of the geniuses afloat and as healthy as possible.Source:
Depression, often referred to as the “common cold of psychopathology”, is among the most prevalent psychiatric conditions, yet it remains challenging to understand and treat. Experience such as the difficulty of continuing on with one’s typical routine, desires, and goals that differentiate more normal experiences of sadness and malaise from syndromes of depression drive people to seek treatment for these conditions. This book provides an overview of all aspects of unipolar and bipolar depressive disorders, including their presentation, course, impact on functioning, etiology, and treatment. It integrates recent research on risk factors for these conditions and biological underpinnings of depression and mania alongside well-established observations regarding the phenomenology and correlates of these conditions. The book explicitly integrates models of depression such as the diathesis-stress model and vulnerability model, across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The book shows how such major psychology disciplines as clinical, developmental, evolutionary, personality, and behavioral neuroscience shed light on the causes, risk factors, and treatment options for the full spectrum of depressive disorders. It describes what is known about the kinds of stress that seem to be most relevant to depressive disorders; how this stress may exert its effects; and other factors that may help to explain individual differences in the stress-depression relationship. Cultural and gender as variables are examined as is depression across the lifespan. In addition, the book clarifies common misconceptions about depression and mood disorders, and considers how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) affects diagnostic practice.
By any measure, the 1970s and 1980s were marked, for psychology, by a continual upward change in professional self-designations as indicated by membership in the American Psychological Association (APA), a marker of the increase in the number of practicing psychologists now well distributed in all areas of U.S. culture. Psychology entered the 1970s as a well-established, lucrative coalition of professions. While some of its activity over the rest of the decade could be understood as directed toward meeting the challenge of selfless public service, for the most part psychologists were interested in career advancement. The response of officially organized psychology in the 1970s to these political and social events was the same as it had been during the preceding two decades the creation of further interest groups reflected as new divisions in the APA. Clinical psychology continued to contend with medical psychiatry for authority in treating mental illness.Source:
This chapter provides some ways to classify jokes into categories, discusses some theories about what makes something funny, and get into the caveats about why this work can be so difficult. This information can lay the groundwork for humor’s role in communication, personality, health, thought, and the like. Comedy alters mood, thought, stress, and pain. Jokes and laughter may play an important role in health, mental illness, marital bliss, education, and psychotherapy. Although a comprehensive model that explains every funny thing in the world would be quite complicated, humor definitely lends itself to study. Cynicism aside, experiments on comedy and mirth have generated amazing insights in the arts and sciences, leading to new ways to recognize, generate, and use funny material. As ubiquitous and intuitive as comedy seems to be, the grand theory and explanation of all humor remain elusive.Source:
Personality psychology concerns the nature of human nature and tells us how a person will act in different situations and why. This book tells the story about the differences and similarities between people, and the causes and consequences of these differences. It commences with a note on the salient psychological theories of personality. During the mid-20th century, behaviorism emerged as a dominant paradigm for understanding human behavior, including personality. Although the social cognitive theory of personality has its origins in the radical behaviorist tradition, it emerged in clear opposition to it. Causal theories of personality deal with the question of why people differ in various ways. Behavioral genetics, an area of psychology concerned with the assessment of the relative contribution of genetic and nongenetic influences on various individual variables of difference, including personality, intelligence, and psychological disorders, is also outlined. Psychologists believe people can measure personality using reliable scientific tools. There has been an increased interest in alternative methods for objectively assessing personality. One compelling example is the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The book also shows how personality influences what is traditionally seen as social and cultural phenomena, such as political attitudes and religious beliefs, and prosocial and antisocial behavior. According to research, the most important personality correlates of prosocial behavior are extraversion and agreeableness. The book concludes with a note on the implications of using personality inventories in the context of identifying bad or problematic traits, such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy, and online personality profiling in the context of consumer behavior.
This chapter describes the main causal theories of personality, which deal with the question of why, that is, why people differ in various ways. It addresses the question of personality change and development, that is, whether people can change, and if so, the extent to which they actually do. The chapter also discusses the main factors that contribute to change. To tackle the question of why personality differences between people exist, psychologists have generally occupied three different fields of investigation: the genetic, the biochemical, and the evolutionary. Behavioral genetics is an area of psychology concerned with the assessment of the relative contribution of genetic and nongenetic influences on various individual variables of difference, including personality, intelligence, and psychological disorders. Behavioral geneticists distinguish between two types of environment: shared environment and nonshared environment. The structure of temperaments seems to differ from the adult personality structure.Source: