Artists Are Better at Coping With Challenges… Because We’re Crazy

Artnet News published an interesting piece today about researchers from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (yes, apparently there is such a place), which found that creativity correlates with psychological weakness… (wait for it)… and mental strength (phew).

In 1963, the pioneering creativity scholar Frank Barron wrote that the “creative genius… is both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner than the average person.”

— Rachel Corbett

Source: Artists Are More Anxious and Depressed Than Those in Other Professions—But They Are Also Better at Coping With Challenges, a New Study Says

File this under in the Tell Me Something I Didn’t Know that Also Justifies My Bad Behavior and Fragile Self-Image. What’s interesting is that Barron’s seemingly contradictory claims were reached via “personality tests and interviews” during the early Mad Men-era, prior to the use of more empirical processes. And yet — “they may turn out to be verifiably true,” writes Corbett, Artnews’ deputy editor. She adds “In other words, the artists were both ‘crazier’ and ‘saner’ than the non-artists, as Barron phrased it.”

Here, here.

Also, I like how “non-artist” is a synonym for “neurotypical.”

Meanwhile, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has created a rubric that might be useful for those like me who need to upgrade their super-ego to see how well they measure up. Meet RULER (see what I did there?), an acronym for the five skills of emotional intelligence (recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating). I have zero mastery of exactly none of the above, which may qualify me to be a guinea pig at the Center. This is the only way I’ll ever get into Yale. New Haven, here I come!


Daedalus Howell

Daedalus Howell is the author, most recently, of the novel "Quantum Deadline" and the writer-director of the recently released feature film "Pill Head." He is the editor of The North Bay Bohemian and The Pacific Sun.

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