This study explored the relationship between schizotypy, hypomania, and indicators of creativity in 152 adult undergraduate students. We were interested in exploring a possible inverted U-shaped relationship between mental illness and creativity where moderate (vs. high or low) amounts of pathology are associated with facilitating creative responses. An indicator of cognitive inhibition derived from Stroop mismatch reaction times was also evaluated as a potential moderating factor between symptomatology and levels of creativity. College students (n = 152) were recruited from an introductory psychology class and completed a series of questionnaires (Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-BR; Hypomania Checklist-32; Creative Achievement Questionnaire) and experimental tasks (color Stroop task; Wallach-Kogan Creativity Test) with a research assistant in a controlled environment. Polynomial regression results suggested that creative accomplishments were predicted by levels of disorganized schizotypy, but negatively associated with levels of interpersonal schizotypy. Scores on two divergent thinking indices were predicted by levels of disorganized schizotypy, yet surprisingly negatively associated with scores of hypomania. Although the relationship between disorganized symptoms and creative processes was not anticipated, these results may reflect certain nonconforming characteristics (e.g., tendency to wander off the topic in conversations) associated with this symptom domain. Although there was no definitive evidence supporting an inverted-U relationship between symptom severity and creativity within our sample, several linear relationships emerged suggesting that cognitive inhibition acted as a moderator variable for originality in those with higher levels of interpersonal schizotypy. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Psychology (miscellaneous)