A new study suggests the possibility of an overlap between the genetic components that result in our creativity and those some psychiatric disorders.
The researchers examined the genetic material from more than 86,000 people in Iceland and identified the genetic variants which had a connection with an increased risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the study. Next, the investigators looked for these variants in a group consisting of more than a thousand people who were members of national societies of artists which includes actors, dancers, visual arts, musicians and writers in Iceland.
The results suggested that the people in these artistic societies were 17 percent more likely to have the variants which were linked with the mental health conditions than the people who were the general population, and hence not a part of these creative societies.
“The results of this study should not have come as a surprise, because to be creative, you have to think differently from the crowd,” study author Kari Stefansson, the founder and CEO of deCODE, a genomic analysis company, said in a statement. “And we had previously shown that carriers of genetic factors that predispose to schizophrenia do so.”
The investigators also examined the link between creativity and psychiatric disorders through a different set of information obtained from four previous studies conducted in the Netherlands and Sweden that involved around 35,000 people. This group included people who worked in the fields of visual arts, music, theater, dance and writing, and also the people who worked in other professions. This study showed that the people who were in creative professions were 25% more likely to carry the genetic variants related to the psychiatric disorders than the people who had other jobs.