For the study, researchers have examined the genetic material from more than 86,000 people in Iceland and identified the genetic variants, which had a genetic connection with an increase risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Then researchers have looked for these variants in a group consisting of more than a thousand people who were members of national societies of artists which includes dancers, actors, visual arts, musicians, and writers in Iceland.
The study suggested that the people in these artistic societies were 17 percent more likely to have the variants which were linked with the mental health conditions than the people who were the general population, and hence not part of these creative societies.
Kari Stefansson, the founder and CEO of decode, a genomic analysis company and the lead author of the study said, “The results of this study should not have come as a surprise, because to be creative, you have to think differently from the crowd, and we had previously shown that carriers of genetic factors that predispose to schizophrenia do so.”
The researchers have also examined the link between creativity and psychiatric disorders through a different set of information obtained from four previous studies that were conducted in the Netherlands and Sweden, which involved around 35,000 people. This group of people included those who worked in the fields of visual arts, music, theater, dance and writing, and also the people who worked in other professions. The study showed that the people who were in creative professions were 25 percent more likely to carry the genetic variants related to the psychiatric disorders than the people who had other jobs.
The study however is careful to draw attention to the fact that merely represents a statistical association and not really a cause and effect scene.
The findings of the study are published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.