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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mental Illness Links to Art and Sex

An interesting article from The Guardian about Mental Illness Links to Art and Sex (and here is the relevant academic abstract).

Apparently people who believe in Darwinism were puzzled by the fact that there are still schizophrenics in the population. Surely the genes predisposing people to schizophrenia should be disappearing from the gene pool? I think the reasoning has something to do with schizophrenics being antisocial and therefore not making babies. Note: this whole post is me presuming things and stretching things, I am far too lazy to go read the actual research.

Anyway, the researchers studied some stuff and as far as I can tell (skim reading and multitasking) they came to this conclusion:

1. Artists & schizophrenics both think weird shit. Or, at least everyone else thinks that they think weird shit. Both groups got equally high scores on something called "unusual cognition." In other words, they are more creative than most people.

2. Artists are more popular/sociable than schizophrenics. Artists and schizophrenics got very different scores on something called "introvertive anhedonia." Schizophrenics got high scores, whereas artists got similar scores to the general population.

3. Artists sleep around a lot. Twice as much as the general population. Presumably because they are relatively sociable and/or because the "differentness" bestowed by the schizo-genes falls in the scale of Baby-Bear-different, as opposed to Daddy-Bear-different or Mummy-Bear-different

So, basically the artists are doing the schizophrenics share of passing on the genes that predisposes people to schizophrenia.

I know this isn't really finished, but I think I'll stop now. Translating is tiring. Besides I have to go research cognition and schizophrenia. There must be some tests I can take....

I have a brother who is schizophrenic and an artist and another brother who is just an artist (a very good one though) and another brother who is autistic and an artist. None of them sleep around as far as I'm aware.
Wow...three artistic brothers! That's very cool :)

It is interesting that one is schizophrenic and one is autistic and one not. Are they similar types of artists? (eg painting, music, sculpture, etc)

I'm not convinced by that research though. I think it was based on people filling in a questionaire. Perhaps artists are more likely to take creative license with questionaires than non-artists.
Two paint, one does sculptures. The schizophrenic and the austistic brothers are very anti-social.

You know, my siblings (and I) are all artistic to different extents, except for one, I'm not sure about him. My sister does hair. In fact, she doesn't like the talking to people part of her job.

I'm the only one that has children.

No real point here, you just got me interested with the post.
There doesn't always have to be a point :)

Would you say you were more or less or just differently artistic to your siblings? Also, do you think that the brother and sister who aren't autistic/schizophrenic are more likely to have children than the others?

The whole topic interests me because I find it very difficult to balance the artistic/creatitve aspect of my life with the sociable/normal life aspect. If I am in a creative phase I can get very antisocial. If I am trying to be sociable, then I don't create.

It sounds like your sister is the perfect hairdresser for someone like me. One of the reasons I avoid hairdressers is that I hate having to sit and chat for 30-60 minutes with no escape route. I'm not paying money to be tortured like that!
I would say that I've never spent the time that they have exploring my artistic nature. I used to write plays, belong to drama clubs, was into full on drawing, etc. But it was all for fun, I never took it seriously because I never considered it would be useful for making money. So my more logical side really has taken precedence, my artistic side languishes, pops out every once in a while and then is knocked on the head again because everything else is more important.

My brother has given me a book on how to draw people, which is what I'm very interested in. I want to draw motion, I can see the people in my head when I think about it (right into very specific details) but due to lack of practise I think I am too scared to spend the time actually doing anything about it. Sewing and decoration seem to satisfy the urges for now. God knows what I'd do if I had the desire actually do stories in film (which is another unrealised desire).

If only there was time to everything all at once.

I love drawing people. Especially people who are moving. Although, now that I think about it, maybe I just like drawing the things generated by people (motoin, feelings, ideas) rather than the actual people. My people very rarely look like people.

Stories in film sound fascinating. Have you seen the www.monday9am.tv short films?
One of my favourite daydreams used to be disappearing into an alternate reality where time would go by at a different rate so that I could then reappear back in normal reality a couple of seconds after I left, but really having days or weeks away. That would get around the time issue. :)

Haven't looked at the website you've mentioned, and I better not now. Have to go to bed. Must. Detach. From. Computer ...
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