Being creative goes hand-in-hand with being a psychopath, study claims

Emotional disinhibition, in the form of psychopathic boldness, is 'integral to some creative personalities'

Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 27 April 2016 12:45

Maybe it's the implicit desire to best your peers, maybe it's the intrinsic, solipsistic desire to interpret and present the world as you see it, but whatever the case, creative people are apparently more likely to be psychopaths.

In a study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal titled ‘Investigating the prosocial psychopath model of the creative personality’, researchers questioned whether creative industries make people more prone to psychopathic behaviour, but found something even more interesting.

“A creative field might not just shape a person into a more arrogant or dishonest personality, it might be actively selecting them, not for the sake of having disagreeable traits, but because such traits meaningfully co-vary with creativity itself,” the authors write.

“We argue that emotional disinhibition, in the form of psychopathic boldness, is actually integral to some creative personalities and functionally related to the creative process.”

The study involved 503 participants, who were surveyed in order to detect traits of narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.

“We show, antisocial behaviours of the kind associated with psychopathic meanness and disinhibition do not seem essential to the creative personality. Instead, they just happen to coincide with it,” the De La Salle University, Manila-based authors, led by Adrianne John R. Galang, concludes.

“If the model proves useful going forward, it might be the cultivation of forms of boldness, while seeking to mitigate the more harmful forms of disinhibition, which would be the key to fostering creativity in both educational and professional settings.”

Bad news then, if you’re still working on that script/novel/play/art installation.

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