In a society that seems to consider being boring as hell to be normal human behavior, this tale of the "abnormal" may be of interest. There’s always been a folklore link between “madness” and genius, but now it’s been found to be literally true.
The study shows that dopamine systems in highly creative people are very much like those in schizophrenics. High creative skills are also more common in people with a history of mental illness in the family.
The key is dopamine levels and dopamine receptors. The study states that the ability to make “unusual or bizarre associations” is similar in creative people and schizophrenics.
Science Daily reports:
"The study shows that highly creative people who did well on the divergent tests had a lower density of D2 receptors in the thalamus than less creative people," says Dr Ullén. (Fredrik Ullén from Karolinska Institutet's Department of Women's and Children's Health) "Schizophrenics are also known to have low D2 density in this part of the brain, suggesting a cause of the link between mental illness and creativity.
The other side of this coin hasn’t yet been studied, but it’s the obvious corollary to this study. Most people know that many schizophrenics are highly intelligent people. What appears to be happening is that the mental associations, unusual, bizarre or otherwise, seem to be in a different mental context, or being processed differently.
The natural question coming from this study, not yet asked or answered, is:
Does this mean that schizophrenics can train or reboot themselves into different mental associations, or think their way out of the mindsets?
The short answer is “Don’t know, but…”
This study may finally be pinning down the mechanism of schizophrenia. It’s been a long war against this condition, but maybe the weak point is now visible. There are now parallels with minds which don’t have schizophrenia which make sense. The differences can now be defined. This is one condition nobody will be sorry to see get its just desserts.
Might make the “normal” people think, too.