Albert Einstein, Kim Peek,Vincent Van Gogh and Thomas Edison all share two thing in common: all four of them battled mental illness, but are still some of the most famous creative geniuses that historically known today. What is a creative genius? A creative genius is a person who displays high intelligence, creative productivity, universality in genres or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of new advances in a domain of knowledge. There is a strong correlation between certain psychological disorders and creative genius because of their ability to focus on a specific task, use of their uncanny memory, unusually inventions such as paintings and fantastic problem solving skills.
Autism is a prime example of a psychological disorder that is associated with a creative genius mindset. This psychological disorder is defined as an impairment of social interaction such as being aware of other’s feelings and understanding communication both verbal and nonverbal.Autistic individuals share “ [ the ability to] detail and organize the perceptual world to an unusual degree—a phenomenon referred to as hyper-systematizing.
”(Nigel Barber) This allows them to focus more on a specific task and almost become obsessed with the task or topic and never get bored of their passion. Nigel concludes that the individuals with this disorder are “ideal workers” because they can inquire specific details and focus abord of a specific topic or task, for example “coding.” Albert Einstein is human being that can relay the genius like qualities of an autistic person, although he was not officially diganotist with this disorder, he had symptoms that fit the diagnosis: “lack of social interaction and delayed speech.
” (Applied Behavior Analysis Programs) Einstein was “incredibly technical,” obsessing over his work of mathematics and science, but used his disability to become one of the most well-known scientist of our time. Another mental impairment that is associated with geniusness is branch off of the Autism Spectrum: Savant Syndrome.
Savant Syndrome is known as an individual with below average intelligence, but displays a special talent or ability. People that have this disorder use their “uncanny memory, this type of memory while deep, is also narrow, linked solely to their particular ability.”(Psychology Today) Their uncanny memory actually enhances their focus on a certain topic, more than what would be considered a “normal” human being. For example, Kim Peek, “ [He was a] savant individual who — with little or no apparent effort — [could complete] intellectual tasks that would be impossible for ordinary people to master.”(Berit Brogaard D.M. Sci) Meaning that individuals with savant syndrome, such as peek’s brains are actually able to master extremely intelligent task, but only in a certain topic. Although, people with this disorder such as Peek may not be able “button their shirt or flip a light switch,” they are able to practice genius like qualities. (Howard Berkes) He is one Savant that brings attention to the creative genius and insanity powers along with Vincent Van Gogh.
Van Gogh like Albert Einstein was never diagnosed with an actual disorder, but he did follow the symptoms of schizophrenia. For Example, “Van Gogh, during an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, heard someone in his ear say, ‘Kill him.’ Instead, he took a knife and cut part of his own ear off.” (Smitha Bhandari, MD) Schizophrenia is defined as incoherent thoughts, bizarre behaviors and speech, delusions and hallucinations such as hearing voices. This definition explains the symptoms that Van Gogh experienced: hearing someone say to kill his fellow painter. Van Gogh used his mental illness to explore his paintings that no ordinary person would have come up with. Schizophrenia works hand and hand with creative geniuses like characteristics for example “inter-hemispheric communication but their cognitive processes tend to be too disorganized for them to make productive use of it.” (Neel Burton) Those who are able to overcome their disorder, are some of the most well known genesis, kind of like Thomas Edison.
Edison seems to have struggled with a condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD: a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by a combination of inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Although it is hard for children and adults to focus with this condition, they are able to the create problem solving activities to enhance their focus. Research shows “even something as small as fidgeting [ with their] hands — increases levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the way ADHD medications [do].” (Roland Rotz, and Sarah D.Wright) Wright and Rotz also explain other methods individuals use with ADHD create to maintain focus such as “ walking , talking, beat the timer, chewing gum, doodling and [spinning].” These individuals are able to preoccupy their brain in order to increase their focus; kind of like multitasking except they are able to use these helpful movements to remain most of their focus on one task. Thomas Edison is a good example of a successful struggler of ADHD. According to the understood team, “He was considered “difficult” and hyperactive. He developed effective ways to study and learn on his own. As a result, Edison’s unique way of tackling problems helped him make history. He shaped modern life by inventing the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the light bulb.” Edison found his own way to become a successful person, even though he had a hard time staying focused on one task he was able to overcome his symptoms.
These disorders have their own ways of aiding the minds of creative genius. They encourage problem solving, unusually creations, using the uncanny memory and increase focus all though they may interfere from time to time all obstacles can be overcome, even though it may be a difficult road. These and many other psychological disorders do share a correlation with creative genius.