Schizotypy and creativity: An evolutionary connection?
O'Reilly T., Dunbar R., Bentall R.
Previous researchers have suggested that there might be an association between psychotic traits and creativity, and that this association might explain the retention of psychosis genes in the gene pool. A multidimensional measure of schizotypal traits, the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences, and Torrance tests of divergent thinking were administered to humanities and creative arts students. Students in the creative arts scored higher on the unusual experiences dimension of schizotypy in comparison with the humanities students. For the students as a whole, divergent thinking scores were predicted by scores on the unusual experiences dimension of schizotypy. Further analyses suggested that this association was accounted for by degree subject (humanities vs creative arts), and no direct association between schizotypy and divergent thinking could be demonstrated in either group of students. However, the unusual experiences dimension was a significant predictor of engagement in the verbal arts, even when degree subject was controlled for. The findings indicate that schizotypy may play a role in determining creative pursuits, but does not contribute directly to divergent thinking. Future studies should explore both direct and indirect paths linking schizotypy to creativity. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.