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Lecture 4

PSYC 3550 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Writers Workshop, Personality Test, Anhedonia

Course Code
PSYC 3550
Jennifer Hunter

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The Creative Person: Madness and Creativity
Creativity Exercise- Remote Associations
Find the word that links the three words together: test ability to connect
abstract concepts (might be testing vocabulary rather than creativity)
Cottage/swiss/cake = cheese
Cream/skate/water = ice
The Romantic Hero/The Byronic Hero
The origin of the idea that creativity and madness are connected
Lord Byron- influential poet, who rose to fame because of his poetic
success and his many scandals (bisexual, Caroline Lamb, Step-sister)
o Political celebrity (left wing)
o Died in Greece during the war from an illness
Byronic Hero
o Unconventional, deviant, mad
Research on Famous Artists
Kay Jamison- conducted a study of all british and irish poets (n=36)
o More than 50% showed strong evidence of mood disorders
4- recurrent depression
13- bipolar 1 disorder
6- bipolar 2 disorder
the brain’s pruning ability is disrupted in bipolar
disorder, creating abnormal/disorganized neural
connections (overabundance of dopamine = mania)
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o Methodological Issues (historical studies)
The research question is not directly asked
Incomplete records: biased
Not generalizable because the focus was only on british
and irish poets in the 18th century
Difficult to know if the rate of mental health is “high”
relative to the entire population
Dr. Nancy Andreasen- conducted study of Iowa Writer’s Workshop
(n=30), and matched them to other individuals who were not employed
in the arts (but matched on age, education, gender)
o Writers had significantly higher diagnosis of affective disorders,
bipolar disorder, and alcohol dependence
o Methodological Issues
Needs a larger sample size in order to increase Power and
be more likely to prove more significance
Research in General Population
We cannot generalize from famous icons to the general population
because perhaps it is such that famous icons tend to reach for more
creative activities
o Results are more generalizable (applies to everybody rather than
just famous artists)
o More participants (more statistical power)
o Better access
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