Artistic Depression

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It's an old study, but I wouldn't things have changed much an probably across the board (but not for certain):

"One study, for example, found 81.5 percent of the population of Manhattan, New York, to have had signs and symptoms of mental distress (Srole, 1962). "

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter2/sec2_1.html


And:

"During any one-year period, up to 50 million Americans -- more than 22 percent -- suffer from a clearly diagnosable mental disorder involving a degree of incapacity that interferes with employment, attendance at school or daily life. "

http://www.friendshospitalonline.org/facts.htm


This was just a quick search (about 3 or 4 minutes worth)

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"85 percent of Aussies "touched" by mental illness: report"

http://ibnnews.org/archives/archives/national/National News/many_aussies_affected_by_mental_illness_31707_4265845145477_00000.html

and its probably not just Aussies--even if you are 'sane' its around you
 
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It's an old study, but I wouldn't things have changed much an probably across the board (but not for certain):

"One study, for example, found 81.5 percent of the population of Manhattan, New York, to have had signs and symptoms of mental distress (Srole, 1962). "

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter2/sec2_1.html


And:

"During any one-year period, up to 50 million Americans -- more than 22 percent -- suffer from a clearly diagnosable mental disorder involving a degree of incapacity that interferes with employment, attendance at school or daily life. "

http://www.friendshospitalonline.org/facts.htm


This was just a quick search (about 3 or 4 minutes worth)

-------------------------------------
"85 percent of Aussies "touched" by mental illness: report"

http://ibnnews.org/archives/archives/national/National News/many_aussies_affected_by_mental_illness_31707_4265845145477_00000.html

and its probably not just Aussies--even if you are 'sane' its around you
It was your wording. A "psychotic episode", involves having some pretty severe delusions or hallucinations or both. Severe Depression is a mental illness, yes, but not considered a psychotic episode. There is, in fact, a separate diagnosis if psychosis accompanies depression: "Major Depression with Psychotic Features". The bipolar types are also not classified as "psychotic episodes". They're under the heading of "Mood Disorders". You can have a diagnosis of, say, "Bipolar I, Severe, with Psychotic Features", but that is a subset of Bipolar, not the norm. So, saying 90% of people will have a minor psychotic episode is not a correct statement of what you meant. And, as you figured out, it actually said 87% are in contact with someone who is mentally ill.
 
It was your wording. A "psychotic episode", involves having some pretty severe delusions or hallucinations or both. Severe Depression is a mental illness, yes, but not considered a psychotic episode. There is, in fact, a separate diagnosis if psychosis accompanies depression: "Major Depression with Psychotic Features". The bipolar types are also not classified as "psychotic episodes". They're under the heading of "Mood Disorders". You can have a diagnosis of, say, "Bipolar I, Severe, with Psychotic Features", but that is a subset of Bipolar, not the norm. So, saying 90% of people will have a minor psychotic episode is not a correct statement of what you meant. And, as you figured out, it actually said 87% are in contact with someone who is mentally ill.
I guess it depends on how you look at it:

"Psychosis is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality". Stedman's Medical Dictionary defines psychosis as "a severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning."[1]

People experiencing a psychotic episode may report hallucinations or delusional beliefs (e.g., grandiose or paranoid delusions), and may exhibit personality changes and disorganized thinking. This is often accompanied by lack of insight into the unusual or bizarre nature of their behaviour, as well as difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out the activities of daily living."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychosis

You may be thinking of an episode as a 'major breakdown' as in the first line of the second paragraph, but the second paragraph goes on to describe other possible components of a ' "psychotic" episode'.

That Aussie study was thrown in as how it effects others around those (not 'really' related as my comment behind the link states.)



http://www.coolnurse.com/mental_healthusa.htm

"The majority of Americans will, at some point in their lifetime, meet the diagnostic criteria for one or more mental disorders. "

I read someplace that the 'number' was in the high 80's % (I rounded it up).

"About one quarter (26 percent) of the general population reported symptoms sufficient for diagnosing such a disorder during the past year. Most of these disorders, however, were mild and likely to resolve without treatment."

I really didn't specify that the 'numbers' or the 'definition' was specifically about depression.

There seems to be a lot of studies on various facets of mental illness.
-----------------------------------
One thing I've read about psych 'stuff': they do a lot of generalizing
 
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hypnagogue

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This is what I'm questioning. How is such a thing measured? Who determines what constitutes "creativity" and how do they prevent what you and I would agree is really psychotic or nuts from registering as "creativity"? How would they distinguish Dali from a girl who "writes" 127 songs in her head in a day?
You're right that trying to quantify creativity is problematic. But the same could be said of quantifying any mental attribute. A given kind of scale may not measure exactly what we want it to, it may miss certain things or mischaracterize others. No scale is going to capture perfectly the thing it intends to measure. The question though is whether a scale can offer a quantification that is on some level useful and faithful to reality, not whether it is perfect.

In a couple of the studies I linked to they measured creativity using the Barron Welsh Art Scale (BWAS). A description of the scale:

The scoring of this test is based on "like" and "dislike" responses to figures of varying complexity and symmetry that provide a comparison with preferences indicated by artists. Thirty-eight simple and/or symmetrical figures disliked by artists and 24 more complex and/or asymmetrical figures liked by artists comprise the BWAS's Dislike and Like subscales, respectively; total scores combine responses to these subscales. People whose scores are more in accord with the likes and dislikes of artists are considered as having greater creativity.
http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/40/22/23 [Broken]

Of course a scale like this is not going to exhaustively and perfectly characterize the varieties of things we might mean when we say "creativity." But is the information it provides us useful for assessing something like what we mean by "creativity" in a quantitative way? Existing research suggests that it does.

Whatever the ultimate nature of the configuration or style of personality captured in scores on the BWAS—and the search for such an absolute may be as futile and meaningless as a search for the philosopher’s stone—there is no doubt about the convergence of our own studies as well as those cited in the appended bibliography in showing that the measures do identify creative talent, and that they do this independently of intelligence, personal soundness, gender, age, and other powerful determinants that all too often limit the utility of our assessment tools.
http://mindgarden.com/products/bwass.htm
 
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hypnagogue

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Well, this manner of stating it implies the disagreeable (to me) notion that one has to suffer to create art. It implies that to make a person into an artist you have to get them and keep them depressed. This was a common notion of the Romantic era. It's not true, because I know some really good artists who are positive, upbeat people.
Stating that for some people, depression helps artistic quality or productivity certainly does not imply that for all people, being depressed is a necessary condition for creating art. That inference is fraught with logical errors. It infers a universal claim from an existential claim, and it infers necessity from sufficiency, both of which are invalid inferences.
 
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You're right that trying to quantify creativity is problematic. But the same could be said of quantifying any mental attribute. A given kind of scale may not measure exactly what we want it to, it may miss certain things or mischaracterize others. No scale is going to capture perfectly the thing it intends to measure. The question though is whether a scale can offer a quantification that is on some level useful and faithful to reality, not whether it is perfect.
If the scale isn't measuring exactly what you want it to and missing certain things, then you have to treat the result very tentatively and without confidence. Any list of questions might reveal something "useful" and "faithful to reality" without necessarily being what you intended to uncover. The initial task is to question and define what is meant by the term, and I really doubt they've satisfactorily done that.

In a couple of the studies I linked to they measured creativity using the Barron Welsh Art Scale (BWAS). A description of the scale:

Quote:
The scoring of this test is based on "like" and "dislike" responses to figures of varying complexity and symmetry that provide a comparison with preferences indicated by artists. Thirty-eight simple and/or symmetrical figures disliked by artists and 24 more complex and/or asymmetrical figures liked by artists comprise the BWAS's Dislike and Like subscales, respectively; total scores combine responses to these subscales. People whose scores are more in accord with the likes and dislikes of artists are considered as having greater creativity.
I think this scale is clearly a measure of a certain kind of aesthetic taste, but not creativity. I can like what Dali likes without being able to generate anything Dali-like myself, or anything Dali would enjoy, for that matter. The average art collector ought to score high on this scale as should the average art appreciator, neither of whom might also exhibit any creativity in practice. At most this scale seems to imply that if you like Michelangelo you can be assumed to be as creative as Michelangelo, which would be an outrageous claim. At least it seems to imply that if you like art you are automatically capable of producing art.
Of course a scale like this is not going to exhaustively and perfectly characterize the varieties of things we might mean when we say "creativity." But is the information it provides us useful for assessing something like what we mean by "creativity" in a quantitative way?
It might constitute a start, if nothing else: a very preliminary way to filter people out.


"Existing research suggests that it does.
Quote:
Whatever the ultimate nature of the configuration or style of personality captured in scores on the BWAS—and the search for such an absolute may be as futile and meaningless as a search for the philosopher’s stone—there is no doubt about the convergence of our own studies as well as those cited in the appended bibliography in showing that the measures do identify creative talent, and that they do this independently of intelligence, personal soundness, gender, age, and other powerful determinants that all too often limit the utility of our assessment tools.
This, to me, reads as gobbeldy-gook. After first asserting they're not sure what they've identified they suddenly assert certainty about the very subjective concept: "creative talent": very vague assertions being made in a confident tone, someone doing their best to put a positive spin on their research paper.
---
One big problem in trying to quantify anything about artists is that, upon close examination it often turns out that any two given artists are up to two very different things despite the fact they're expressing these impulses in the same medium. In the same way The US and England are characterized as two countries separated by a common language, Picasso and Norman Rockwell would have to be acknowledged as being two artists separated by a common medium: up to two extremely different things despite the commonality of canvass and oil paint.

The other problem is that creativity isn't limited to art. What makes Einstein and Feynman stand out could be convincingly characterized as their creativity, and often has been. Would they get a high score on this creativity test. They well might, I don't know, but non-artistically expressed creativity should also be taken into consideration when attempting to quantify creativity.

I see, also, a possibility for false positives for the reason I mentioned before: manic and hypomanic people sometimes indulge in shocking, unexpected behavior because they get a kick out of getting a rise out of people and for the high feeling of not being bound by convention and rules. Most bipolar people go off their meds, when they do, because they very much miss the exiting, invulnerable feeling of social freedom they have when manic. I think that kind of state of mind could easily masquerade as creativity on the kind of creativity test described here without such a person being also being able to produce any interesting artwork.
 
Do you know what the DSM-IV is, rewebster?
One of it's main uses is to 'label' a person (conditions/symptoms) as a number(s)--(for easy and quick reference)

The other is to 'try' to standardize definitions of conditions/symptoms.


Do you like reading things of/in that professional field?


Most of the posts (so far) haven't been too specific and I've tried to avoid that also. If "psychotic episode" has a number, I'd be surprized. It was, to me, just another way of saying, "symptom sufficient for diagnosing a disorder" (paraphrased from that article). I'm pretty sure there's probably diagnostic code (for some of us/me) that 'feel' the 'need' to 'chat' on forums, even.
 
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If the scale isn't measuring exactly what you want it to and missing certain things, then you have to treat the result very tentatively and without confidence. Any list of questions might reveal something "useful" and "faithful to reality" without necessarily being what you intended to uncover. The initial task is to question and define what is meant by the term, and I really doubt they've satisfactorily done that.


I think this scale is clearly a measure of a certain kind of aesthetic taste, but not creativity. I can like what Dali likes without being able to generate anything Dali-like myself, or anything Dali would enjoy, for that matter. The average art collector ought to score high on this scale as should the average art appreciator, neither of whom might also exhibit any creativity in practice. At most this scale seems to imply that if you like Michelangelo you can be assumed to be as creative as Michelangelo, which would be an outrageous claim. At least it seems to imply that if you like art you are automatically capable of producing art.

It might constitute a start, if nothing else: a very preliminary way to filter people out.



This, to me, reads as gobbeldy-gook. After first asserting they're not sure what they've identified they suddenly assert certainty about the very subjective concept: "creative talent": very vague assertions being made in a confident tone, someone doing their best to put a positive spin on their research paper.
---
One big problem in trying to quantify anything about artists is that, upon close examination it often turns out that any two given artists are up to two very different things despite the fact they're expressing these impulses in the same medium. In the same way The US and England are characterized as two countries separated by a common language, Picasso and Norman Rockwell would have to be acknowledged as being two artists separated by a common medium: up to two extremely different things despite the commonality of canvass and oil paint.

The other problem is that creativity isn't limited to art. What makes Einstein and Feynman stand out could be convincingly characterized as their creativity, and often has been. Would they get a high score on this creativity test. They well might, I don't know, but non-artistically expressed creativity should also be taken into consideration when attempting to quantify creativity.

I see, also, a possibility for false positives for the reason I mentioned before: manic and hypomanic people sometimes indulge in shocking, unexpected behavior because they get a kick out of getting a rise out of people and for the high feeling of not being bound by convention and rules. Most bipolar people go off their meds, when they do, because they very much miss the exiting, invulnerable feeling of social freedom they have when manic. I think that kind of state of mind could easily masquerade as creativity on the kind of creativity test described here without such a person being also being able to produce any interesting artwork.
Some psychologist (somewhere) can probably get a grant to study you (or me) even--(I think they like those type of studies---)
 
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Stating that for some people, depression helps artistic quality or productivity certainly does not imply that for all people, being depressed is a necessary condition for creating art. That inference is fraught with logical errors. It infers a universal claim from an existential claim, and it infers necessity from sufficiency, both of which are invalid inferences.
I agree it's fraught with logical errors and stipulate you wouldn't make such errors. Regardless, it was a common notion that arose in the Romantic era of art and music. Beethoven, Shubert, Schumann, and Chopin were prime examples: Beethovens greatness is often laid to the suffering of his increasing deafness, Shubert contracted syphillis and went insane, Schumann suffered from some kind of indeterminate mental illness and was suicidal, Chopin suffered for years from consumption.

Goethe extended necessary artistic suffering to unrequited love in his well known novel The Sorrows of Young Werther:

"The novel is in the form of a series of letters from Werther to his brother Wilhelm detailing his love for Lotte (Charlotte S.) despite her bethrothal and subsequent marriage to Albert. She has eight brothers and sisters and promised her deceased mother to marry Albert. He is a sensitive artist, poet, and lover of nature and Homer. He exhibits increasing obsession over this unrequited love and with thoughts of death and suicide, and is emotionally ill-equipped to get on with his life....blah, blah, blah."

http://mcgoodwin.net/pages/otherbooks/jg_werther.html

Written when Goethe was 24 based on his unsuccessful love interest in Charlotte Buff (they met in spring and summer 1772 in Wetzlar, near Frankfurt; she married Christian Kestner April 1773), a subsequent unsuccessful love-interest in Maximiliane von La Roche, and also based partly on the suicide of Wilhelm Jerusalem in October 1772 (who despaired of unsuccessful love with Elisabeth Herd, and borrowed Kestner's pistols to accomplish the deed.) It incorporates the "proto-Romantic" cult of the genius exempt from the customary rules and judgements characteristic of the Sturm und Drang period, coupled with sentimental melancholy sensitivity known as Empfindsamkeit.
In googling Goethe quotes on the subject of suffering I find:

"A great artist... must be shaken by the naked truths that will not be comforted. This divine discontent, this disequilibrium, this state of inner tension is the source of artistic energy. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)"

I think this whole thing later culminated in Van Gogh who represents the ultimate suffering artist to many, and there is, indeed, a meme to the effect that great artists must suffer.

Personally, I can't draw and suffer at the same time.
 
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One of it's main uses is to 'label' a person (conditions/symptoms) as a number(s)--(for easy and quick reference)

The other is to 'try' to standardize definitions of conditions/symptoms.


Are you in that professional field?


Most of the posts (so far) haven't been too specific and I've tried to avoid that also. If "psychotic episode" has a number, I'd be surprized. It was, to me, just another way of saying, "symptom sufficient for diagnosing a disorder" (paraphrased from that article). I'm pretty sure there's probably diagnostic code (for some of us/me) that 'feel' the 'need' to 'chat' on forums, even.
The DSM is the handbook for professionals in the Psychiatric Field. The criteria it gives for psychosis are one or more of the following: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech (i.e.frequent derailment or incoherence), or grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior. Psychosis is distinct from mental illness; not all mental illness includes psychosis.

We here at PF let the DSM have dibs on all such definitions.
 
"(i.e.frequent derailment...)"


hmmm.....
 
H

hc_17

"Can't be bothered"????? If you're not going to try and get a real sampling of real working artists then you might as well be writing fiction.



I don't understand why you posted here at all. There are plenty of Art forums on the web.
Actually i have gotten a real sampling of real artists work, but the only one alive, who i can interview, i already have. If i have to look for other artists i will have to change my whole brief which i have already handed it in, and its been marked. I only needed one artist to interview, which i have done.

Yes there is, which i am on 3 already, but i also wanted a wide range of answers, not just from artists, its interesting to find out what non artists think of the matter, hint why im posting on a physics forum.

And if your critiscing my research methods and think its stupid, why did you come on this thread and reply at all???
 
Psychology is in many ways unlike other sciences, where the largest possible sample, and therefore most general observations, yields the best results. Due to the complexity of the subject, in some cases it is better to observe the development and behaviors of a small sample (or even one sample).

Many of the advances of Freud himself were based on observing a patient for a long time. There are a lot of things that can only be learned this way, and not through collecting the data of large samples.

Which is why I asked what kinds of observations you are looking for. If you are doing research about the general correlation between mental illnesses and art, this is not the best way to do it; you'll need a much larger sample. But if you are looking for specifics (what drives a depressed person to produce art, etc.) then a smaller sample is indeed better than a large one.

---

(to that comment someone made a while ago)

Saying that it's not important to differentiate between specific mental illnesses is ridiculous. Saying that a psychosis is just like a neurosis or a depression, is like saying that a cold is pretty much the same thing as a cancer. Just because diagnosis of mental illnesses is a bit tricky, it doesn't mean that differentiations is not important, it only means that we don't (yet) fully understand the mind and that it's important to keep doing research.

Extrapolating "psychosis" from "mental illness" is ridiculous!

I have ADD, a mild dyscalculia, and a tendency to depression and panic attacks. Those are very specific symptoms.— I'm not psychotic! I don't see things or believe that Captain America talks to me through the white noise of the radio. You can't generalize mental disorders that way.
 
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hypnagogue

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I think this scale is clearly a measure of a certain kind of aesthetic taste, but not creativity.
That's what it seems like on first glance. It might seem surprising that a scale like this could be a legitimate measure of creativity in some sense. But psychology is replete with surprises. It can't be rejected out of hand without considering the research that has investigated the scale and its uses.

I admit that I am not well read on the BWAS myself. But barring an in-depth review of the literature, if I must judge the merits of the scale either from its prima facie conceptual plausibility, or from the judgment of numerous researchers who are experienced and knowledgeable in the background of the scale and the findings associated with it, I will trust the latter, and I will not be impressed with refutations of the scale that rely only on the former.
 
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And if your critiscing my research methods and think its stupid, why did you come on this thread and reply at all???
To say as much. It is not at all clear to me what kind of academically pertinent answers you expect to get by soliciting random opinions about this. I think you should be reading biographies of artists and also researching mental illness in general.
 
H

hc_17

To say as much. It is not at all clear to me what kind of academically pertinent answers you expect to get by soliciting random opinions about this. I think you should be reading biographies of artists and also researching mental illness in general.
i have been actually, i just wanted some peoples opinions on the matter, the whole project isnt about peoples opinions, but its a very helpful thing to have, ive already had 3 months for this and have done a large amount of research in artists biographies and researching mental health. Although to get high marks and to create a successful project i have to do more than that, i have visited various art museums, interviewed an artist, compared artists work and wanted some people opinions on artists and mental health.I thought some people might be kind enough to share their opinions which most people have been, and i thank them for that.
 
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That's what it seems like on first glance. It might seem surprising that a scale like this could be a legitimate measure of creativity in some sense. But psychology is replete with surprises. It can't be rejected out of hand without considering the research that has investigated the scale and its uses.

I admit that I am not well read on the BWAS myself. But barring an in-depth review of the literature, if I must judge the merits of the scale either from its prima facie conceptual plausibility, or from the judgment of numerous researchers who are experienced and knowledgeable in the background of the scale and the findings associated with it, I will trust the latter, and I will not be impressed with refutations of the scale that rely only on the former.
Appeal to authority?
 
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i have been actually, i just wanted some peoples opinions on the matter, the whole project isnt about peoples opinions, but its a very helpful thing to have, ...
This is the thing that's got me: how is it possibly helpful?
 
i have been actually, i just wanted some peoples opinions on the matter, the whole project isnt about peoples opinions, but its a very helpful thing to have, ive already had 3 months for this and have done a large amount of research in artists biographies and researching mental health. Although to get high marks and to create a successful project i have to do more than that, i have visited various art museums, interviewed an artist, compared artists work and wanted some people opinions on artists and mental health.I thought some people might be kind enough to share their opinions which most people have been, and i thank them for that.
When is your paper due?
 

Math Is Hard

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Do you like reading things of/in that professional field?
Usually not so much, because I am focused on cognitive rather than abnormal psych, but we had some overlap last year when I worked on a study of how different mental health professionals use DSM IV criteria to make diagnoses. We also did a few studies with lay people, so it is interesting to hear what their concepts of it are and how they think it is used (especially from people who aren't psych undergrads, because that's about all we get in the lab!)
 
Usually not so much, because I am focused on cognitive rather than abnormal psych, but we had some overlap last year when I worked on a study of how different mental health professionals use DSM IV criteria to make diagnoses. We also did a few studies with lay people, so it is interesting to hear what their concepts of it are and how they think it is used (especially from people who aren't psych undergrads, because that's about all we get in the lab!)
Most of the time, I would guess, there's no fresh cases (everyone already has a diagnosis), ---so where does my opinion of it fit on the Bell shaped curve?
-----------------------------

were you looking for percentages?---(# correctly or incorrectly diagnosed?)


-----------------------------
I'm watching football, and one of the players was asked something- and he said like -that his team IS going to the Superbowl --and the interviewer said something about being mentally prepared, and (it sounded like) the player answered, "Yeah, I'm already there,--you know...--your mind doesn't know the difference between fake and fiction"

---------------------------
Evo--I wish you would answer my post (from a couple pages back now)
 
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H

hc_17

beginning of october

i think i have everything i need now

thanks everyone for your help! :)
and I thought it was just beginning to get interesting
 

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