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: 3.38). 09/2010; 125(1-3):27-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2009.12.018
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Using structured diagnostic interviews, Andreasen (1987) quantified that creative writers were more likely to have a BP II disorder (30%) than a BP I disorder (13%). Conversely, recent controlled trials did not find any differences in creative ability between the BP I and BP II subgroups (Strong et al., 2007; Srivastava et al., 2010). Nonetheless, hypotheses regarding differential creativeness among BP disorder subtypes could be inferred based on differences in severity and contextual features of hypomania versus mania. "
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    ABSTRACT: Bipolar (BP) disorder has been linked to creativity following investigation of prominent artists and controlled trials of creativity in BP disorder patients. However, it is unclear whether creativity is differentially expressed across the BP I and BP II subtypes. 219 patients (aged 19-63 years) diagnosed with BP disorder by clinical interview and DSM-IV criteria were asked whether they tended to be more creative during hypo/manic episodes, and answered five questions about personality styles associated with creativity. Qualitative analyses were performed on a smaller subset of 69 BP patients (n=19 BP I, n=50 BP II) who provided written responses of the types of creative activities engaged in when hypo/manic and any perceived advantages or disadvantages of their creative pursuits. 82% of BP patients affirmed being creative when hypo/manic, with comparable results for the BP I and BP II subtypes (84% and 81% respectively). Both BP subtypes engaged mostly in writing, painting, work or business ideas and 'other' forms of art; however BP II patients were more likely to draw and be musical. Both subgroups reported the consequences of feeling good, being productive or quitting their project. BP I patients were more likely to overspend during their creative highs while BP II patients were more likely to experience improved focus and clarity. BP patients affirming creative highs were significantly more likely to report creative personality styles more generally outside of a mood episode. BP patients' self-reported creative activities were not retrospectively judged for quality or originality and so may reflect common creative abilities rather than exceptional quality. The impact of depressive episodes on creativity was not assessed. Uneven sample sizes in the BP I and BP II subgroups may have compromised statistical power. Creativity during hypo/manic episodes was extremely common in both BP subtypes. While some nuances in activity type and outcomes were observed, no significant creative phenotype specific to BP I or BP II disorder emerged.
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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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    ABSTRACT: A cognitive model of bipolar disorder suggests that mental imagery acts as an emotional amplifier of mood and may be heightened in bipolar disorder. First, we tested whether patients with bipolar disorder would score higher on mental imagery measures than a matched healthy control group. Second, we examined differences in imagery between patients divided into groups according to their level of mood stability. Mood ratings over approximately 6-months, made using a mobile phone messaging system, were used to divide patients into stable or unstable groups. Clinician decisions of mood stability were corroborated with statistical analysis. Results showed (I) compared to healthy controls, patients with bipolar disorder had significantly higher scores for general mental imagery use, more vivid imagery of future events, higher levels of intrusive prospective imagery, and more extreme imagery-based interpretation bias; (II) compared to patients with stable mood, patients with unstable mood had higher levels of intrusive prospective imagery, and this correlated highly with their current levels of anxiety and depression. The findings were consistent with predictions. Further investigation of imagery in bipolar disorder appears warranted as it may highlight processes that contribute to mood instability with relevance for cognitive behaviour therapy.
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