Review paper. Does genius border on insanity? Part I: A relationship between creativity and the presence of psychopathological symptoms in bipolar disorder

Open access


The theory linking the development of mental disorders with the processes of human evolution assumes that these disorders may be the result of a side effect of natural and sexual selection processes. Creativity is one of the adaptive features associated with the increased incidence of psychopathological symptoms (as compared to the general population).

In this review paper, the definition of creativity has been characterized, and contemporary existing theories on its background, have been presented. Also, the paper describes the relationship between creativity and the presence of psychopathological symptoms. Special attention has been paid to the relationship between creativity and bipolar disorder.

The research results prove the existence of a correlation between a high level of creativity and a higher prevalence of psychopathological symptoms, particularly concerning the symptoms of bipolar disorder spectrum.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Darwin C. The expression of emotions in man and animals. London Friedman 1979.

  • 2. Hamilton WD. Narrow roads of gene land. W: Dawkin R red. The collected papers of W. D. Hamilton. Oxford New York W. H. Freeman/ Spektrum; 1996.

  • 3. Rybakowski F Rybakowski J. Ewolucyjne koncepcje zaburzeń afektywnych. Psychiatria Polska.2006; XL; 3:401-413.

  • 2. Andreasen NC. Am J Psychiatry. 1987 Oct;144(10):1288-92.

  • 3. Parandowski J. Mitologia. Wierzenia i podania Greków i Rzymian. Kraków Dom Książki 1992.

  • 4. Batey M Furnham A. Genetic Social and General Psychology Monographs.2006; 132(4): 355-429.

  • 5. Stein M. I. Creativity and culture. Journal of Psychology.1953; 36: 31-322.

  • 6. Runco M. Jaeger J. The Standard Definition of Creativity. Creativity Research Journal.2012; 24(1):92-96.

  • 7. Rybakowski J Klonowska P Patrzała A Jaracz J. Psychopatologia a kreatywność. Psyciatria Polska.2006;(XL)6:1033-1049.

  • 8. Mayseless N Shamay-Tsoory S.G. Enhancing verbal creativity: Modulating creativity by altering the balance between right and left inferior frontal gyrus with tDCS.Neuroscience. 2015;291:167-176.

  • 9. Carruthers P. Human Creativity: Its Cognitive Basis its Evolution and its Connections with Childhood Pretence. Brithish journal for the philosophy of science.2002; 53(2): 225-249.

  • 10. Darwin C. The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. London J Murray;1871.

  • 11. Haselton M.G Miller G.F. Women's Fertility across the Cycle Increases the Short-Term Attractiveness of Creative Intelligence. Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective [1045-6767]2006;17(1):50 -73.

  • 12. Buss D. The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. New York BasicBooks; 2003.

  • 13. Treffert D. The savant syndrome: an extraordinary condition. A synopsis: past present future. Philosophical transactions - Royal Society. Biological sciences [0962-8436] 2009;364 (1522): 1351-7.

  • 14. Treffert D. An unlikely virtuoso: Leslie Lemke and the story of savant syndrome.Sciences [0036-861X]. 1989;29(1): 28.

  • 15. Brink T. L. Idiot savant with unusual mechanical ability: An organic explanation. American Journal of Psychiatry 1980; 137: 250-251.

  • 16. Wallace G. Neuropsychological Studies of Savant Skills: Can They Inform the Neuroscience of Giftedness? Roeper Review [0278-3193]. 2008; 30(4): 229 -246.

  • 17. Barron F.Creativity Intelligence and Personality. Annual Review of Psychology. 1981; 32(1):439 -476.

  • 18. Sussman A. Mental Illness and Creativity: A Neurological View of the “Tortured Artist”. Stanford Journal of Neuroscience. 2007; 1(1):21-24.

  • 19. Hankir A. Rewiev: Bilolar Disorders and Poetic Genius. Psychiatria Danubina 2011;23(1): 62-68.

  • 20. Jamison KR. Mood disorders and patterns of creativity in British writers and artists. Psychiatry 1989; 52: 125-34.

  • 21. Ludwig AM. Mental illness and creative activity in female writers. Am J Psychiatry 1994; 151: 1650-6.

  • 22. Ghadirian A-M Gregoire P Kosmidis H. Creativity and the Evolution of Psychopathologies. Creativity Research Journal. 2000-2001; 13(2): 145-148.

  • 23. Runco M. Creativity. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2004; 55:657-87.

  • 24. Akiskal H.S Akiskal K. Re-assessing the prevalence of bipolar disorders: clinical significance and artistic creativity. Psychiatry Psychobiol. 3 European Psychiatry. 1988.

  • 25. Richards Ruth Kinney Dennis K Lunde Inge Benet Maria Merzel Ann P.C. Creativity in manic-depressives cyclothymes their normal relatives and control subjects. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 1988; 97 (3): 281-288.

  • 26. Sass L.A. Schizophrenia Modernism and the "Creative Imagination": On Creativity and Psychopathology. Creativity research journal. 2001; 13(1):55 -74.

  • 27. Simonton D.K. Creativity: Cognitive personal developmental and social aspects. American Psychologist 2001; 55(1): 151-158.

  • 28. Andreasen N. Creativity in art and science: are there two cultures? Dialogues in clinical neuroscience. 2012 14(1):49-54.

  • 29. Rybakowski J. Oblicza choroby maniakalno-depresyjnej. Poznań Termedia Wydawnictwa Medyczne; 2009.

  • 30. Andreasen N. The relationship between creativity and mood disorders. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience. 2008; 10(2)2: 251 -255.

  • 31. Prisciandaro J.Predictors of clinical trial dropout in individuals with co-occurring bipolar disorder and alcohol dependence. Drug and alcohol dependence. 2011; 118(2-3):493 -496.

  • 32. Ludwig A. Creative achievement and psychopatology. Comparison among professions. In: Runco M. Richards R. Emintent creativity everyday creativity and health. Ablex Greenwich. 1997.

  • 33. Soeiro-de-Souza M.G. Soares D Post R Moreno R.A. Creativity and executive function across manic mixed and depressive episodes in bipolar I disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2011; 135(1): 292-297.

  • 34. Kusz W. Biografia Roberta Szumana widziana oczami psychiatry. Current Problems Of Psychiatry. 2010; 11(4): 313-322.

  • 35. Ostwald P Schumann: The Inner Voices of a Musical Genius. Boston Northeastern University Press. 1985.

  • 36. Holm-Hadulla R.M. Goethe’s study crisis depression and his selftreatment strategies. Psychotherapeut. 2009; 54: 370-374.

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 660 182 9
PDF Downloads 521 165 9