evolutionary significance of emotions !!

Pam Blundell pjw106 at york.ac.uk
Wed Mar 1 05:29:30 EST 2000

"John H." <johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au> wrote in message
news:89giqe$2i0i$1 at news1.wire.net.au...
> Pam Blundell <pjw106 at york.ac.uk> wrote in message
> news:89ea0d$bcj$1 at pump1.york.ac.uk...
> > "John H." <johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au> wrote in message
> > news:88qlhh$1gq4$1 at news1.wire.net.au...
> > >
> > > <cerebrolat at my-deja.com> wrote in message
> > > news:88p1dr$g32$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> > > > In article <88e6a4$1h13$1 at news1.wire.net.au>,
> > > >   "John H." <johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au> wrote:
> > > > > Clearly because depression is associated with creativity
> >
> > Where on earth did you get this gem from?  Depression results in people
> not
> > getting enjoyment out of life, not feeling motivated to do things they
> > normally would, sleeping differently to normal (more or less) and
> > of suicide.  At no point in DSM does it say that depressed people are
> > likely to write a symphony!
> Did the people writing the DSM ever bother to look? Psychology amazes me
> that so many always assume a pathology is irrevocably and globally
> to cognitive functions as a whole. Think of idiot savants. What is the
> A bible or something? Please, that's scholasticism to the core.
> There are studies indicating that writers as a group are inclined towards
> dysthmia\depression and I've read enough biographies to know that
> is going on there. When Tschaikovsky wrote his 6th, his best and a
> monumental piece, he was on a train and tears flooded out of him while
> writing it. The 6th is mostly very sad (only 3rd movement rips along). I
> prefer his Serenade for Strings and Italian Capricanno (spelling!) He got
> depressed quite a bit, long story ... .
> Other side: Ludwig Boltzmann, great 19th century physicist, committed
> suicide mid 50's - probably mild manic depressive. Mathematicians, strange
> bunch, obsessive-compulsive leanings? Go ask Godel, brilliant but kooky.
> Paul Erdos, brilliant mathematician, spent last 15-20 years using
> amphetamines, once quoted as saying Coffee + human beings = mathematics.
> Sound healthy? Is that in the DSM?
> Yes, sws is changed during depression, may be related to phase changes in
> cortisol
> levels during sleep. There is no "ideal" brain state for optimal cognitive
> functionality. The great Irish mathematician Hamilton died of alcoholism
> malnutrition in his early 40's and was doing great work until bango dead.
> You won't find that in the DSM.

I'm afraid that is a very poor argument.  You need to compare the percentage
of people who are depressed, and creative, with the percentage of people who
are 'normal' and creative.  I don't know if this has been done, but I would
expect that you will not find any difference.  You also need to compare the
number of depressives who are creative with those who are not.  *Most*
depressed people are not especially creative.  They are normal individuals
with a devastating disorder.  Depression, as I said before, is an incredibly
debiliating condition, and often leaves people incapable of even leaving the
house, let alone having the motivation to do something like write or paint.

It is often said that left handed people are more creative, but a
statistical study was carried out by John Aggleton, comparing occurance of
lefthandedness amoung musicians and a 'normal' control group (cricketers),
and he found no difference.  This is an example where a commonly held belief
about creative people is actually wrong, and I would expect the same to be
found for the creative-depression link.

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