Madness & Genius: Schizophrenia
• Schizophrenia & Intelligence
• Schizotypal traits & Creativity
• Severe psychotic illness
• Disturbances in perception, emotion,
thought, or speech
• 1% Prevalence rate
• Positive and Negative Symptoms
• Pathologically excessive:
• Racing, disorganized Thoughts
• Disorganized Speech
• Pathologically deficient:
• Flattened Affect
– Poverty of speech
– Lack of desire, motivation, or persistence
• Genetic influences
– Twin studies:
– Monozygotic twins have 46%
– Dizygotic twins have 14% concurrence
• Environmental influences
– E.g., Prenatal
• Concordance rate for monozygotic (MZ)
twins sharing same placenta twice as high as
MZ twins in different placentas
Immediate Causes of Schizophrenia
• Functional and structural
abnormalities in the brain
– Enlarged ventricles
– Dopamine hypothesis
– Neurotransmitter imbalances
Schizophrenia and Intelligence
• Did he seem intelligent?
• Is it possible to measure his level of
• Is he more in touch with “true” reality
than the rest of us?
Intelligence and Schizophrenia
• Intelligence can be measured in
schizophrenics using IQ tests
• Schizophrenics have much lower IQ scores
• Badcock et al. (2005) compared
schizophrenics’ current and pre-morbid IQ
– Both IQ scores were lower than controls
– Even the highest functioning schziophrenics
had lower IQ scores than average.
• Substance abuse, schizophrenia, and
• Have problems processing information
• Have impaired:
– Spatial ability
– Motor skills
– Language skills
– Executive functioning
• Have difficulty paying attention
Schizotypal Traits & Creativity
• Schizophrenics not more creative than
• But, individuals with schizophrenic
tendencies (i.e., schizotypal traits) tend to
be more creative than average
• Participants with higher schizotypal traits
tended to be more creative on various self-
report tests of creativity (e.g., Remote
What do you see?
What do you see?
Schizotypy & Creativity
• Highly creative females gave answers to the
Rorschach indicative of schizophrenia
• They were not mentally ill
• Suggests that creative individuals and
schizophrenics share some thinking
• Lowered evidence criterion
• May explain increased creativity of
• Adoption study
• Answer Yes/No:
1. Do you sometimes feel that things you see on the TV or read
in the newspaper have a special meaning for you ?
2. I sometimes avoid going to places where there will be many
people because I will get anxious.
3. Have you had experiences with the supernatural ?
4. Have you often mistaken objects or shadows for people, or
noises for voices ?
5. Other people see me as slightly eccentric (odd).
6. I have little interest in getting to know other people.
7. People sometimes find it hard to understand what I am
8. People sometimes find me aloof and distant.
9. I am sure I am being talked about behind my back.
10. I am aware that people notice me when I go out for a meal or
to see a film.
• Schizophrenics less, not more, intelligent
• Schizophrenics not more creative than
• Schizotypal individuals (i.e., those with
tendencies toward schizophrenia) tend to be
more creative than average
• American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental
disorders (DSM-IV-TR) (4th ed.-text revision). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric
• Badcock, J. C., Dragovic, M., & Waters, F. A. V. (2005). Dimensions of intelligence in
schizophrenia: Evidence from patients with preserved, deteriorated and compromised
intellect. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 39, 11-19.
• Badcock, J. C., Williams, R. J., & Anderson, M. (2004). Speed of processing and
individual differences in IQ in schizophrenia: General or specific cognitive deficits?
Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 9, 233-247.
• Carlsson, I., Wendt, P. E., & Risberg, J. (2000). On the neurobiology of creativity:
Differences in frontal activity between high and low creative subjects. Neuropsychologia,
• Franklin, K. W., & Cornell, D. G. (1997). Rorschach interpretation with high-ability
adolescent females: Psychopathology or creative thinking? Journal of Personality
Assessment, 68, 184-196.
• Heinrichs, R. W., & Zakzanis, K. K. (1998). Neurocognitive deficit in schizophrenia: A
quantitative review of the evidence. Neuropsychology, 12, 426-445.
• Holthausen, E. A., Wiersma, D., & Sitskoorn, M. M. (2002). Schizophrenic patients
without neuropsychological deficits: Subgroup, disease severity or cognitive
compensation? Psychiatry Research, 112, 1-11.
• Kinney, D. K., Richards, R., & Lowing, P. A. (2001). Creativity in offspring of
schizophrenic and control parents: An adoption study. Creativity Research Journal, 13,
• Kondel, T. K., Mortimer, A. M., & Lesson, V. C. (2003). Intellectual differences between
schizophrenic patients and normal controls across the adult lifespan. Journal of Clinical
and Experimental Neuropsychology, 25, 1045-1056.
• Nestor, P. G., Kubicki, M., & Gurrera, R. J. (2003). Neuropsychological correlates of
diffusion tensor imaging in schizophrenia. Neuropsychology, 18, 629-637.
• Schuldberg, D. (2001). Six subclinical spectrum traits in normal creativity. Creativity
Research Journal, 13, 5-16.
• Toulopoulou, T., Grech, A., Morris, R. G., Schulze, K., McDonald, C., Chapple, B.,
Rabe-Hesketh, S., & Murray, R. M. (2004). The relationship between volumetric brain
changes and cognitive function: A family study on schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry,
• Vincent, A. S., Decker, B. P., & Mumford, M. D. (2002). Divergent thinking, intelligence,
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