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Creativity and Psychopathology: Higher Rates of Psychosis Proneness and Nonright-Handedness Among Creative Artists Compared to Same Age and Gender Peers

Preti, Antonio MD*†; Vellante, Marcello BPsych*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: October 2007 - Volume 195 - Issue 10 - p 837-845
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181568180
Original Article

Creative people have been found to score higher on psychopathologic scales in standardized tests, particularly on the scales that measure traits of psychoticism, and to be more likely to report an excess of nonright handedness compared with controls. However, results are inconsistent across surveys and methodologies, and the contribution of substance abuse has rarely been measured. In this study, 80 creative artists were compared with 80 matched noncreative controls on the Annett Hand Preference Questionnaire (HPQ), the Peters et al. Delusions Inventory, and the General Health Questionnaire. Creative artists were statistically more likely to admit the use of the left hand on the HPQ, with more widespread left hand use reported by artists involved in the creative activities traditionally associated with the right hemisphere (music and painting). They also scored higher on the Peters et al. Delusions Inventory independently from the level of psychopathology (measured with the General Health Questionnaire), from their laterality score (measured with the HPQ), and from their higher use of both licit and illicit drugs.

*Department of Psychology, University of Cagliari; and †Genneruxi Medical Center, Cagliari, Italy.

Send reprint requests to Antonio Preti, MD, Centro Medico Genneruxi, via Costantinopoli 42, I-09129 Cagliari, Italy. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.