Duck Duck Book

27 – mental illness link
12.15.2005, 4:27 pm
Filed under: articles

“Mental illness link to art and sex” / Ian Sample, science correspondent.
The Guardian, 30 November 2005.

Daniel Nettle of Newcastle University and Helen Clegg of the Open University in Milton Keynes recently published a report of a survey they did of schizophrenics, artists, and members of the general British population.  This article discusses the survey results, some of the most notable of which are: artists have (on average) more than twice the number of sexual partners as people in the rest of the population, and, artists share key behavioral traits with schizophrenics. 

According to the survey, artists and schizophrenics are especially likely to experience a connection or blurring between reality and dream states, and to be overwhelmed by their own thoughts.  The big difference between artists and schizophrenics seems to be that schizophrenics also have other traits that make it very difficult for them to engage in social interaction or to have satisfying emotional lives.  Artists aren’t any more likely to suffer from these difficulties than other non-schizophrenics — basically, Clegg and Nettle’s conclusion is that artists have the gifts of insanity without the handicaps!  Fascinating, especially if you consider the very creative people you no doubt know (I mean, aren’t they kind of crazy, but in a good way?).

The article provides much more detail about the survey and Nettle and Clegg’s work, as well as a link to an abstract of their journal article.


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