Article

Toward interaction of affective and cognitive contributors to creativity in bipolar disorders: A controlled study

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5723, USA.
Journal of Affective Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.71). 09/2010; 125(1-3):27-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2009.12.018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Enhanced creativity in bipolar disorder patients may be related to affective and cognitive phenomena.
32 bipolar disorder patients (BP), 21 unipolar major depressive disorder patients (MDD), 22 creative controls (CC), and 42 healthy controls (HC) (all euthymic) completed the Revised Neuroticism Extraversion Openness Personality Inventory (NEO), the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego Autoquestionnaire (TEMPS-A), the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI); the Barron-Welsh Art Scale (BWAS), the Adjective Check List Creative Personality Scale, and the Figural and Verbal Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Mean scores were compared across groups, and relationships between temperament/personality and creativity were assessed with bivariate correlation and hierarchical multiple linear regression.
BP and CC (but not MDD) compared to HC had higher BWAS-Total (46% and 42% higher, respectively, p<0.05) and BWAS-Dislike (83% and 93% higher, p<0.02) scores, and higher MBTI-Intuition preference type rates (78% vs. 50% and 96% vs. 50%, p<0.05). BP, MDD, and CC, compared to HC, had increased TEMPS-A-Cyclothymia scores (666%, 451% and 434% higher, respectively, p<0.0001), and NEO-Neuroticism scores (60%, 57% and 51% higher, p<0.0001). NEO-Neuroticism and TEMPS-A Cyclothymia correlated with BWAS-Dislike (and BWAS-Total), while MBTI-Intuition continuous scores and NEO-Openness correlated with BWAS-Like (and BWAS-Total).
Relatively small sample size.
We replicate the role of cyclothymic and related temperaments in creativity, as well as that of intuitive processes. Further studies are needed to clarify relationships between creativity and affective and cognitive processes in bipolar disorder patients.

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    • "Elsewhere we have hypothesised that a feature of bipolar disorder may be high mental imagery susceptibility – for example a propensity to think in images rather than words. High imagery ability may be useful for creativity (Srivastava et al., 2010). However, given the impact of imagery on emotion, elevated imagery may also contribute to the emotional instability (depression, mania, anxiety) seen in bipolar disorder (Holmes, Geddes et al., 2008). "
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