Creativity and Insanity More Alike Than You Think
There is a common notion that there is only a fine line between creativity and insanity. A small group of people known as schizotypes may essentially live on that line.
Between Genius and Madness
Schizotypes fall in the midpoint between sanity and insanity. They do not suffer most of the symptoms of schizophrenia, such as paranoia and hallucinations, but they often exhibit both eccentricities and enhanced creativity. A new study confirms that both may come from their using more of the right side of the brain than the rest of us.
Scanning Your Brain
The link between creativity and aberrant behavior has generally been based on anecdotal evidence. The new study used brain-imaging techniques to investigate the creative process in an experimental manner, with "creativity" being defined as the ability to generate something new and useful from pre-existing materials or ideas.
The researchers compared the creative thinking processes of schizotypes, schizophrenics, and normal control subjects.
Schizotypes Used Their Right Brain More
Scans showed that both sides of the brain in all three types were active when making novel associations. But in schizotypes, the activity in the right hemisphere was much higher when compared to the control subjects, and they also came up with a wider variety of creative ideas.
It was theorized that schizotypes may have more access to the right hemisphere of the brain, or that they may exhibit more efficient communication between the two hemispheres.
Live Science September 7, 2005