Odd behavior may lead to creativity

September 8, 2005

Researchers say they've found a quirky or socially awkward approach to life might be key to becoming a great artist, composer or inventor.

Psychologists say new research in individuals with schizotypal personalities -- people characterized by odd behavior and language, but who are not psychotic or schizophrenic -- offers the first neurological evidence such people are more creative than normal or fully schizophrenic people.

Vanderbilt psychologists Brad Folley and Sohee Park said it's long believed that some famous creative luminaries, including artist Vincent Van Gogh and physicist Albert Einstein, had schizotypal personalities.

"The idea that schizotypes have enhanced creativity has been out there for a long time, but no one has investigated the behavioral manifestations and their neural correlates experimentally," Folley said.

"Our paper is unique because we investigated the creative process experimentally and we also looked at the blood flow in the brain while research subjects were undergoing creative tasks."

The research was published online by the journal Schizophrenia Research.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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