Well, maybe just a little – Mental illness has long been associated with a special part of the brain. Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. Sylvia Plath stuck her head in the oven. History teems with examples of great artists acting in very peculiar ways. Were these artists simply mad or brilliant? According to new research, maybe both.

In order to examine the link between psychosis and creativity, psychiatrist Szabolcs Keri focused his research on neuregulin 1, a gene that normally plays a role in a variety of brain processes, including development and strengthening communication between neurons. However, a variant of this gene is associated with a greater risk of developing mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.In this study, the researchers recruited volunteers who considered themselves to be very creative and accomplished. They underwent a battery of tests, including assessments for intelligence and creativity. The results showed a clear link between neuregulin 1 and creativity: Volunteers with the specific variant of this gene were more likely to have higher scores on the creativity assessment and also greater lifetime creative achievements than volunteers with a different form of the gene.

We think that great artistry went into our tee shirt (not to mention the wonderful surrealistic portrait on the front of it) and we hope you think so too.

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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