Tag Archives: schizophrenia and creativity
Understanding Schizophrenia: Creativity, Divergent Thinking, and the Frontal Lobe
Schizophrenics exhibit brain abnormalities that go beyond emotional disturbances and delusions, including diminished frontal lobe activity, which results in a range of cognitive deficits. The brain’s ability to process information in a cognitively organized way, for example, is disrupted, and the filters that allow neurotypical people to screen out irrelevant stimuli are often absent. As a result, the schizophrenic’s mental functioning is frequently impaired. Whether this impairment is part of the cause of schizophrenic symptoms or arises as a result of them is, as yet, not known.
Despite their cognitive impairments, the IQ scores of schizophrenics are similar in range to those of the rest of the population. While movies like “A Beautiful Mind” have given rise to the idea that mental illness often goes hand in hand with genius, this is simply not the case; indeed, schizophrenics actually perform better, cognitively, once they are medicated and the mental illness is under control.
There is one aptitude, however, which may indeed be found in greater measure in the minds of schizophrenics: Creativity. Functional schizophrenics are often able to organize myriad pieces of information (ones that are both cognitive and sensory in nature) to yield unique and often highly insightful solutions to problems. This heightened creativity may account for the mistaken belief that mentally ill people are more intelligent than average.