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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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:
A psychologist must confront many prejudices against older adults that are manifested in most people in non-older adult cohorts. Clinical psychologists specializing in geropsychology work with individual older adults; family members of older adults, including spouses/partners, siblings, and adult children; and caregivers when treating the psychological problems experienced by older adults and dealing with issues of caregiving to older adults experiencing mental illness, dementia, and/or psychological reactions to co-occurring medical illnesses. Unfortunately, despite the fact that older adults are affected by the forces of ageism and stigma, and the fact that community psychologists strive to understand and improve social inequalities and to enable empowerment of marginalized people, there is a significant dearth of research in the field of community psychology. There are four types of ageism: personal, institutional, intentional, and unintentional. The majority of older adults have experienced age discrimination and stigmatization at some time after the age of 65.Source:
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 book focuses solely on the modern period and begins in 1927. The aim is to orient the reader to continuing themes in the field and to also point any future historian to unresolved historical questions as these appear. The accounts of the development of the coalition of theory and practice, an account of some of the effects of psychology on society is presented via the account of a fictional family the Blacks whose several generations were impacted by the development of psychology from the 1920s. In 1920, in America, psychology was dominated by two main currents. The first was a tendency to reduce life to habit, and the second was to establish differences between humans by test. Within psychiatry, psychology had long had allies, and during the 1930s some powerful ones became associated with psychology and supported its aims to develop a parallel nonmedical psychotherapy system. The year 1945 saw the culmination of many developments in psychology since the 1920s, which led to two major coalitions being formed. The first of these was represented in the reorganization of the American Psychological Association (APA). The 1950s, in American society as well as psychology, were characterized by two pairs of opposites: liberty versus repression and conformity versus creativity. The 1960s were brought to the United States on television. In the 1980s, the APA added a division of clinical neuropsychology, another specialty area where the advances in both cognitive and brain studies translated into an acceptable medical support occupation for psychologists. The Big 5 Personality Theory began to gather wide recognition in the 1990s. Positive psychology promised an opportunity to focus study on some important and neglected aspects of human life.