You can probably recite, off the top of your head, at least a few creative geniuses who seemed out of their mind. We used Sylvia Plath, Vincent Van Gogh, and Michael Jackson as examples in our piece on creativity and madness last fall. That story surveyed recent evidence linking the two areas–especially the idea that creative types and other people who are vulnerable to mental illness share certain cognitive traits, such as a failure to filter out useless information.
Not all scientists are on board with the “mad genius” concept. In a commentary for the journal Frontiers in Psychology, psychologist Arne Dietrich of the American University of Beirut questions the evidence in support of such a connection. Dietrich emphasizes that the vast majority of creative people aren’t mentally ill, and the vast majority of mentally ill are not geniuses. In short, he says, creativity is not a sign of mental illness at all, but of mental health.
Read the whole story: Fast Company