Creativity has a historical connection with the bipolar spectrum that may result from a shared genetic vulnerability. Previous studies have shown that creativity is particularly enhanced among unaffected first-degree relatives and those with bipolar spectrum traits, such as hypomanic personality, cyclothymic temperament, and positive schizotypy. This suggests that some aspects of the bipolar spectrum may confer advantages, while more severe expressions of symptoms negatively influence creative accomplishment. Here we have evaluated bipolar disorder as an extreme of normal population variation in temperament, personality, and cognitive flexibility and provide further evidence for a shared vulnerability with creativity.
Dr. Tiffany Greenwood is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego. Her research focuses on defining the genetic architecture of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia using dimensional phenotypes to provide a better reflection of the underlying biological processes. Based on her findings in these areas, she is working to implement a risk screening program at UC San Diego that aims to identify behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors associated with risk for mental health conditions, particularly mood disorders and suicide, that can be used for early intervention. Dr. Greenwood’s research also explores bipolar disorder as an extreme of normal population variation in temperament, personality, and cognition under a model of shared vulnerability with creativity.