There is a neurochemical link between psychosis and creativity, according to psychiatrist Szabolcs Keri of Semmelweis University in Hungary. He studied neuregulin 1, a gene that typically is involved with neuron development and communication. A variant genotype, though, is associated with a great risk of developing mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar.
Keri studied a bunch of people who considered themselves creative and had them undergo assessments for intelligence and creativity. They also gave information on their lifetime creative achievements. Those who had the variant genotype of neuregulin 1 scored higher on the creativity assessment and had greater lifetime creative achievements. So, and wait for it, because this is exciting – a study has shown that a genotype associated with psychosis is also associated with traits and functions that people think are good and beneficial!
I don’t love the methodology of the study – measuring creativity is a difficult task in a scientific study, but I love the idea of somehow documenting something I believe about myself: my disability is not exclusively defined by diminished or impaired functioning, but also by abilities or skills beyond those of neurotypicals. I believe that we, in general, not just disability activists, should be thinking about and talking about and studying this perspective more.