“There is no great genius without some touch of madness.” – Aristotle
Since ancient times, creative genius and perceived insanity have been two sides of the same coin. After all, some of the greatest artistic and academic minds of our time have famously been plagued by some sort of madness: Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Schumann, and John Nash among them.
But is this link just coincidence, and is a bit of lunacy the price we pay for genius? Some researchers now believe the answer lies in science.
Here’s what studies say about the reality of “Mad Scientists.”
The proof comes from the relationship between creativity and mood disorders.
Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who also has bipolar disorder, cited over twenty studies indicating the truth behind the concept of the “tortured genius” who drifts between mania and depression.
According to Jamison, one of the biggest links exists between bipolar disorder and creative genius.
In a 2010 Swedish study, 700,000 sixteen-year-olds who were highly intelligent were found ten years later to be “four times as likely to go on to develop bipolar disorder.”