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J Affect Disord. 2007 Jun;100(1-3):31-9. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Enhanced creativity in bipolar disorder patients: a controlled study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5723, USA.



Associations between eminent creativity and bipolar disorders have been reported, but there are few data relating non-eminent creativity to bipolar disorders in clinical samples. We assessed non-eminent creativity in euthymic bipolar (BP) and unipolar major depressive disorder (MDD) patients, creative discipline controls (CC), and healthy controls (HC).


49 BP, 25 MDD, 32 CC, and 47 HC (all euthymic) completed four creativity measures yielding six parameters: the Barron-Welsh Art Scale (BWAS-Total, and two subscales, BWAS-Dislike and BWAS-Like), the Adjective Check List Creative Personality Scale (ACL-CPS), and the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking--Figural (TTCT-F) and Verbal (TTCT-V) versions. Mean scores on these instruments were compared across groups.


BP and CC (but not MDD) compared to HC scored significantly higher on BWAS-Total (45% and 48% higher, respectively) and BWAS-Dislike (90% and 88% higher, respectively), but not on BWAS-Like. CC compared to MDD scored significantly higher (12% higher) on TTCT-F. For all other comparisons, creativity scores did not differ significantly between groups.


We found BP and CC (but not MDD) had similarly enhanced creativity on the BWAS-Total (driven by an increase on the BWAS-Dislike) compared to HC. Further studies are needed to determine the mechanisms of enhanced creativity and how it relates to clinical (e.g. temperament, mood, and medication status) and preclinical (e.g. visual and affective processing substrates) parameters.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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