Creativity, Psychopathology, and Emotion Processing: A Liberal Response Bias for Remembering Negative Information is Associated with Higher Creativity

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:


The results of the study found that self-reported high creative achievement levels and better performance on divergent thinking tasks (indicators of a creative individual) were associated with greater sensitivity to positive words and a more liberal response bias for negative words (which indicates an even greater sensitivity to negative words). So in conclusion, more creative individuals were shown to be more sensitive to positive information and especially sensitive to negative information in comparison to less creative individuals. These results indicate a potential for comorbidity between creativity and psychopathology… suggesting that the tortured artists persona may be more than a stereotype after all.

Coming from a family where both creativity and mental illness are greatly prevalent, this article immediately grabbed my attention. How interesting it would be for these two characteristics I see co-occurring in multiple members of my extended family to be psychologically linked. All in all I found the study’s methods of examination extremely interesting and highly creative. Through the use of three different tests, tweaked slightly to fit their specific needs, the scientists who conducted this study thoroughly evaluated participants’ creativity levels and sensitivities to emotional information, generating fairly quantitative results about aspects of personality that aren’t easy to study.