Psychologist Daniel Nettle of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England and his colleagues recruited 425 British men and women through advertisements in a small town newsletter and various specialty lists for creative types. The researchers surveyed this group with questions designed to measure various schizophrenic behaviors, artistic output and sexual success, among other aspects of their personal history.The paper, from the Proceedings of the Royal Society, is "Schizotypy, creativity and mating success in humans:"
Results of that survey showed that people who displayed strong evidence of "unusual experiences" and "impulsive non-conformity"--two broad types of schizophrenic behavior--had more sexual partners than their peers and were more likely to be involved in artistic pursuits, either professionally or as a hobby. Those who professionally pursued the arts had the highest average number of partners--5.5--compared to just over four for the less creative study participants.
Of course, there are a number of possible reasons for the artists' mating success. "Creative people are often considered to be very attractive and get lots of attention as a result," Nettle explains. "It could also be that very creative types lead a bohemian lifestyle and tend to act on more sexual impulses and opportunities."
There is an evolutionary puzzle surrounding the persistence of schizophrenia, since it is substantially heritable and associated with sharply reduced fitness. However, some of the personality traits which are predictive of schizophrenia are also associated with artistic creativity. Geoffrey Miller has proposed that artistic creativity functions to attract mates. Here, we investigate the relationship between schizotypal personality traits, creative activity, and mating success in a large sample of British poets, visual artists, and other adults. We show that two components of schizotypy are positively correlated with mating success. For one component, this relationship is mediated by creative activity. Results are discussed in terms of the evolution of human creativity and the genesis of schizophrenia.Technorati Tags: Hilarious Journal Articles, Creativity, Schizophrenia