Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dopamine system in highly creative people similar to that seen in schizophrenics, study finds

Date:
May 19, 2010
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
New research shows a possible explanation for the link between mental health and creativity. By studying receptors in the brain, researchers in Sweden have managed to show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia.

In a new study, researchers in Sweden show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia.
Credit: iStockphoto/Evgeny Terentev

New research shows a possible explanation for the link between mental health and creativity. By studying receptors in the brain, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have managed to show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia.

High creative skills have been shown to be somewhat more common in people who have mental illness in the family. Creativity is also linked to a slightly higher risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Certain psychological traits, such as the ability to make unusual pr bizarre associations are also shared by schizophrenics and healthy, highly creative people. And now the correlation between creativity and mental health has scientific backing.

"We have studied the brain and the dopamine D2 receptors, and have shown that the dopamine system of healthy, highly creative people is similar to that found in people with schizophrenia," says associate professor Fredrik Ullén from Karolinska Institutet's Department of Women's and Children's Health, co-author of the study that appears in the journal PLoS ONE.

Just which brain mechanisms are responsible for this correlation is still something of a mystery, but Dr Ullén conjectures that the function of systems in the brain that use dopamine is significant; for example, studies have shown that dopamine receptor genes are linked to ability for divergent thought. Dr Ullén's study measured the creativity of healthy individuals using divergent psychological tests, in which the task was to find many different solutions to a problem.

"The study shows that highly creative people who did well on the divergent tests had a lower density of D2 receptors in the thalamus than less creative people," says Dr Ullén. "Schizophrenics are also known to have low D2 density in this part of the brain, suggesting a cause of the link between mental illness and creativity."

The thalamus serves as a kind of relay centre, filtering information before it reaches areas of the cortex, which is responsible, amongst other things, for cognition and reasoning.

"Fewer D2 receptors in the thalamus probably means a lower degree of signal filtering, and thus a higher flow of information from the thalamus," says Dr Ullén, and explains that this could a possible mechanism behind the ability of healthy highly creative people to see numerous uncommon connections in a problem-solving situation and the bizarre associations found in the mentally ill.

"Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box," says Dr Ullén about his new findings.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Örjan de Manzano, Simon Cervenka, Anke Karabanov, Lars Farde, Fredrik Ullén, Aldo Rustichini. Thinking Outside a Less Intact Box: Thalamic Dopamine D2 Receptor Densities Are Negatively Related to Psychometric Creativity in Healthy Individuals. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (5): e10670 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010670

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Dopamine system in highly creative people similar to that seen in schizophrenics, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518064610.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2010, May 19). Dopamine system in highly creative people similar to that seen in schizophrenics, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518064610.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Dopamine system in highly creative people similar to that seen in schizophrenics, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518064610.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) — Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins