“From a part of the brain preternaturally elevated, but not diseased, the mind sometimes discovers not only unusual strengths and acuteness, but certain talents it never exhibited before. Talents for eloquence, poetry, music and painting, and uncommon ingenuity in several of the mechanical arts, are often evolved in this state of madness.”, Benjamin Rush, a founder of American Psychiatry and one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution
Many attempts have been made to establish a co-relation between mental illnesses and Creativity, and the most common among them is the Bi-polar disorder.
During the Manic phase there is a great possibility of inspiration because thought process quicken, moods lift, and new associations are generated almost effortlessly. Loss of logical progression in thinking and increased flow of loosely connected ideas are a fundamental aspect of the hypomanic state, and studies show these same trends in the thought processes highly creative individuals. This highlights an interesting question; are people suffering from a mental disorder creative or do creative people eventually become psychologically ill? There are many researches being carried on that subject.
In the 1970s, Nancy C. Andreasen of the University of Iowa examined 30 creative writers and found 80% had experienced at least one episode of major depression, hypomania, or mania.A few years later Kay Redfield Jamison studied 47 British writers, painters, and sculptors from the Royal Academy. She found that 38% had been treated for bipolar disorder. In particular, half of the poets (the largest group with manic depression) had needed medication or hospitalization.
During the manic phase a bipolar person exhibits unusual fluency in language and skill and are observed to often use rhymes and alliterations. The lifestyles of manic-depressives in their manic phase is comparable to those of creative people. Both groups function on very little sleep, restless attitudes, and they both exhibit depth and emotion beyond the norm. During this phase the person feels like he/she is capable of anything and in a way takes risks which would otherwise inhibit the person.
Similarly during the depressed phase, they are gloomy and distressed. Helplessness causes their mind to see noting but darkness and out of this comes creativity. The only way to survive this is to unleash their despondency though creative solutions.
Biologically speaking during both these phases the person’s brain is subjected to extremes. During the Manic phase the bipolar person in many ways shows similar traits to that of a very creative person. And this could be the co-relation between the two, the two simply exist with-out actual dependence on each other.
There is also a brewing question about the type of creativity that may be related to Bipolarity. Studies show that Bipolar disorder affects a high percentage of people in artistic professions, including but not limited to, writers, poets, artists, and musicians . Interestingly, in a more recent study carried out by psychologist James Kaufman, it was found that female poets were more likely than fiction writers to have signs of mental illness, such as suicide attempts or hospitalizations, a phenomenon Kaufman has dubbed “the Sylvia Plath effect”
In1970’s, accoding to Nancy Andreasens study, It was also found that there was a higher prevalence of mental disorder and creativity in the writer’s first degree relatives compared to that of the control.
So can this mean that Creativity is not only closely linked to mental illnesses but is also genetic? This Question branches out into a plethora of reason, causes and debates and may even remain unanswered for many years to come. The future holds answers to questions unasked and problems unthought-of.
Albert Einstein said “ I never think of the future, it comes soon enough”.
Like Creativity , intelligence is difficult to Quantify. An Entire field of study is devoted to it, Viz Psychometrics According to conventional wisdom, geniuses are different from everyone else.
They can think faster and better than other people.
In addition, many people think that all that extra brainpower leads to eccentric or quirky behavior.
And although geniuses are fairly easy to spot, defining exactly what makes one person a genius is a little trickier.
Figuring out how that person became a genius is even tougher.
IQ tests as we know them began at the dusk of the 19th century but even before that they were used by Chinese emperors to employ civil servants. The IQ tests give us a vague idea of g, You can think of g as a unit of measure or a way of expressing the amount of intelligence a person has..
Psychologists and Neuroscientists study intelligence extensively and yet there are many differences among them about how it should be analysed. Even though Intelligence is central to Genius not all Geniuses score well in IQ tests.
Does this mean that Intelligence is not essential to Ceativity? Are geniuses un-creative people?
IQ tests measure the Spatial, Linguistic and Mathematical abilities, which in my opinion are all left brain and as said by Roger Sperry and Robert Ornstein (1960s and early 1970’s). Left is for Logic.
Also Hermann(1996) clearly shows which function in humans is related to which hemisphere of the brain.
But this leads us to another question; Is a creative person un-intelligent?
Another less restrictive theory is Robert J. Sternberg’s triarchic theory of human intelligence. According to Sternberg, human intelligence includes:
Creative intelligence, or the ability to generate new, interesting ideas
Analytical intelligence, or the ability to examine facts and draw conclusions
Practical intelligence, or the ability to fit into one’s environment.
If intelligence is defined as above, it can be said that an intelligent person has to be creative.
Researcher David Galenson theorizes that the reason for this is that creative people come in two main types:
Conceptual innovators: think in bold, dramatic leaps and do their best work when young
Experimental innovators: learn through trial and error and do their best work after lengthy experimentation.I agree with Critics who say Galenson’s theories overlook people who produce exceptional work throughout their lives. His latest research suggests that creativity can be expressed as a continuum. Instead of being either experimental or conceptual, people can be mostly one or the other, or they can be somewhere in the middle.
One theory that tries to provide a more complete view of intelligence is Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI). According to Gardner, there are seven types of intelligence:
Concluding from the above few theories and my own understanding of the subject, I would say that Intelligence and Creativity OVERLAP and a GENIUS is what we get at the CONJUNCTION.
We may never be able to pin point where creativity comes from , why some people use their creativity more than others or why some people are most creative during specific times in their lives. How a person ends up with the right balance of brainpower, intelligence and creativity to become a genius. But it’s clear that geniuses are indispensable to advancements in science, technology and understanding. Without geniuses, our understanding of mathematics, literature and music would be completely different; The concepts that we take for granted like gravity, addition, musical notes or alphabets might still be undiscovered.
Do see this link
The Nature V/s Nurture debate tries to establish which one of the two actually attributes for the spur of creativity in a person. Is it true that a Creative person possesses innate creative qualities or are they imbibed during the process of learning and upbringing?
Some believe the nature argument, for the simple reason that, if something is manifested it must have been there all the time. While others would argue saying the environment plays a much bigger role and a non-creative person i.e. someone who doesn’t display creativity can be trained to produce creative ideas. It may also mean that the innate qualities make what so ever no difference.
Looking at an example:
Lady Gaga: She is known worldwide for her eclectic sense of fashion apart from her music of course. Her father was an internet businessman and her mother worked odd jobs. She did not have any direct musical genes (none of from her family are famous music personalities). She began learning the piano at age 4, and today she is one of the best selling artistes in the music industry. She also has a sister who would share 50 percent of her gene pool and yet isn’t a singer or an artiste.
The question is: Where does Gaga’s sense of music or fashion come from? She had a strict upbringing but was known to be a rebel, Or was it because she began to show interest in music since age 4?
I believe it’s a bit of both.
(From Hughson, N. I., & Hughson, R. T. (2004). Psychology of creativity) The common notion of hereditary or genetic versus environmental factors is much oversimplified. The genes do indeed provide for the transmission of hereditary qualities, but they do not determine an individual’s height, or intelligence, or creativity.
They are predispositions, whose effects develop differently in different environments; that is, they interact with environmental conditions or experiences and produce not a fixed effect but a certain “range of reaction.” Nature and nurture are not opposed factors but are complementary to each other. Sometimes also the genes control or modify the environment by choosing books to read and other intellectual activities (Vernon, 1989)
While discussing, if it’s the inbuilt ability or the nurture that actually plays a role in creativity we forget a very important aspect, Opportunity. One would say that in a broader classification Opportunity would be a part of Nature. I beg to differ. In my opinion Along with innate and imbibed qualities I believe Opportunity plays an equal and significant part of creativity in a person.
In simple words, being at the right place at the right time. Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Leonardo Da Vince, Henry Ford and so many more gave the world what it hadn’t seen or heard before. Each of these people worked hard for what they achieved but each of them also had the Opportunity to show their work. Does this form a part of the Nurture? Yes probably does but it deserves a mention and could be credited with a bigger role that it plays in the manifestation of creativity in a person. It is not enough to have creative ideas; the timing has to be perfect too.
Opportunity is broadly, in my personal opinion, of 2 kinds: The First and the Manifestation Opportunity.The First Opportunity is simply the initial activity when a person realizes his/her natural affection towards something. The Manifestation Opportunity is when the world gets to feel/see/hear/understand the creativity in this person. For an Artist, the First opportunity would be experimenting with colors and paper and the manifestation would be displaying his/her masterpiece to the world.
Hence I believe that a creative person has some innate Qualities that a honed because of the environment and has the opportunity to understand that.
I sure hope so.
a fifth period student, on note-taking
The reason? I like to acknowledge that they already know this stuff and/or can figure it out with hints. I give the topic; we come up with the wording of things together. It sticks better.(via hithertokt)
Technology sometimes can be a limiting factor