Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow it:
Does having a mood disorder make you more creative? That’s the most frequent question I hear about the relationship. But because we cannot control the instance of a mood disorder (that is, we can’t turn it on and off, and measure that person’s creativity under both conditions), the question should really be: Do individuals with a mood disorder exhibit greater creativity than those without? Studies that attempt to answer this question by comparing the creativity of individuals with a mood disorder against those without, have been well, mixed.
Studies that ask participants to complete surveys of creative personality, behavior or accomplishment, or to complete divergent thinking measures (where they are asked to generate lots of ideas) often find that individuals with mood disorders do not differ from those without. However, studies using “creative occupation” as an indicator of creativity (based on the assumption that those employed in these occupations are relatively more creative than others) have found that people with bipolar disorders are overrepresented in these occupations. These studies do not measure the creativity of participants directly, rather they use external records (such as censuses and medical registries) to tally the number of people with a history of mood disorders (compared with those without) who report being employed in a creative occupation at some time. These studies incorporate an enormous number of people and provide solid evidence that people who have sought treatment for mood disorders are engaged in creative occupations to a greater extent than those who have not. But can creative occupations serve as a proxy for creative ability?
The creative occupations considered in these studies are overwhelmingly in the arts, which frequently provide greater autonomy and less rigid structure than the average nine-to-five job. This makes these jobs more conducive to the success of individuals who struggle with performance consistency as the result of a mood disorder. The American psychiatrist Arnold Ludwig has suggested that the level of emotional expressiveness required to be successful in various occupations creates an occupational drift and demonstrated that the pattern of expressive occupations being associated with a greater incidence of psychopathology is a self-repeating pattern. For example, professions in the creative arts are associated with greater psychopathology than professions in the sciences whereas, within creative arts professions, architects exhibit a lower lifetime prevalence rate of psychopathology than visual artists and, within the visual arts, abstract artists exhibit lower rates of psychopathology than expressive artists. Therefore, it is possible that many people who suffer from mood disorders gravitate towards these types of professions, regardless of creative ability or inclination.
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