evolutionary significance of emotions !!

John H. johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au
Thu Mar 2 06:50:32 EST 2000

Nick Medford <nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:YodZEGA33Xv4Ewxn at hermit0.demon.co.uk...
> In article <89iram$31$1 at pump1.york.ac.uk>, Pam Blundell
> <pjw106 at york.ac.uk> writes
> >I'm afraid that is a very poor argument.  You need to compare the
> >of people who are depressed, and creative, with the percentage of people
> >are 'normal' and creative.  I don't know if this has been done, but I
> >expect that you will not find any difference.  You also need to compare
> >number of depressives who are creative with those who are not.  *Most*
> >depressed people are not especially creative.

Niether are most happy people, but given the number of drunken poets around
I have always wondered about the association. A few years ago there were
some studies published indicating a link between writers and
dysthmia\depression but I have lost the refs. Nonetheless, some number
crunch work has been done on it.

Mr. Medford has it better targeted than myself, a subset within depressives.
I am curious as to the possibility that creativity of any kind arising
because of predispositions that force the individual into different
perceptual or cognitive styles. Clearly some artists do this very
consciously (the neurotic is controlled by his fantasy but the artist is in
control of his fantasy) but it is clear that some artists rely on a strongly
intuitive mode to find some of their best expressions. I can only guess, but
in some depressives there is appears to be  an elevation of this probably
already existent ability and I wonder if the depressive state can render an
individual more aware of some valuable internal operations that may
otherwise go unnoticed.

> I would agree, but there is undoubtedly a subset of people for whom there
> DOES seem to be some trade-off between psychological distress and
> creativity. I have met a number of such individuals in clinical practice.
> course these do not constitute the majority of people with depression, any
> more than most people with psychoses are possessed of profound mystical
> insights (another popular myth about mental illness).
> > They are normal individuals
> >with a devastating disorder.  Depression, as I said before, is an
> >debiliating condition, and often leaves people incapable of even leaving
> >house, let alone having the motivation to do something like write or
> However in the recovery phase motivation and energy often improve before
> mood lifts, so there may well be a phase where the motivation is present
> tandem with the misery.

Thanks Nick, good lead.

> >It is often said that left handed people are more creative, but a
> >statistical study was carried out by John Aggleton, comparing occurance
> >lefthandedness amoung musicians and a 'normal' control group
> >and he found no difference.  This is an example where a commonly held
> >about creative people is actually wrong, and I would expect the same to
> >found for the creative-depression link.
> Hmm.. not wishing to cast aspersions on the study, which I haven't read
> (could you post a reference?), but being left-handed is definitely an
> advantage when playing cricket. Because most people are right-handed,
> handed batsmen are more difficult to bowl at (the bowler has to bowl a
> different line from normal), and for the same reason left-handed bowlers
> more difficult to face. So maybe they are over-represented amongst
> cricketers?! (probably not, just like to play Devil's advocate).

Just as the lefthanders have an advantage because of this difference, I'm
thinking along the lines in the cogntive department! I do not know why he
chose cricket, left handers ... .

> Re. DSM, which was mentioned earlier in this thread: many European
> psychiatrists are unhappy with it. It contains new disorders each time it
> revised, and the diagnostic categories stretch credulity at times. The ICD
> remains the official standard text in Europe. Both are flawed and
> it's a question of taste which you prefer. But DSM is certainly no bible!
> (Well, maybe it is- the Bible is often contradictory and unreliable

Oh I shouldn't have gone after that so hard, these are valuable tools for
you professionals but I have a problem with holy words of any religion.



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