Does being creative or artistic also make you antisocial? That's the premise of a new study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Apparently, getting all van Gogh on your ear can be attributed to higher levels of emotional disinhibition, dishonesty and risk taking - the very same traits that make you likely to turn into an axe-wielding psychopath à la Jack Nicholson in The Shining. (And here I was thinking it was just a next-level case of writer's block).
"We argue that emotional disinhibition, in the form of psychopathic boldness, is actually integral to some creative personalities and functionally related to the creative process," states the study, which was undertaken at Manila's De La Salle University. According to the findings, being creative coincides with a type of dishonesty and arrogance normally associated with psychos (no doubt encouraging for anyone in possession of a liberal arts degree).
Researchers discovered the link after asking 503 participants a series of questions that sought to root out those who showed narcissistic, psychopathic or Machiavellian tendencies. They then studied psychopathic traits in 250 college students, finding similar traits between the two types. While it makes sense, given that it takes a certain narcissism or arrogance to inspire a writer to keep plugging away at a novel or an painter to languish in poverty for the sake of a masterpiece, luckily you don't need psychopathic behaviour traits to be a successful creative. "Antisocial behaviours of the kind associated with psychopathic meanness and disinhibition do not seem essential to the creative personality. Instead, they just happen to coincide with it," the study clarifies.
Considering that Hannibal Lecter is forensic psychiatrist, Patrick Bateman is a Wall Street banker and Frank Underwood is a politician, we'd say pop culture disagrees with the study, too. In any case, we all know it's the CEOs who are the true psychopaths anyway...