According to a new study published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences there might be some good sides to neuroticism besides instability, frustration and moodiness. More precisely people who are neurotic are also more creative.
According to the study overthinking is what links creativity and neuroticism. Neuroticism means that those affected by this condition have the tendency to overthink things and dwell on negative experiences, moods and thoughts. However it seems that as much as these tendencies expose people to anxiety they also contribute to an increased level of creativity.
The research team led by lecturer in neurobiology of personality Dr. Adam Perkins from King’s College London brought evidence to how neuroticism can be beneficial. In spite of depression and anxiety brooding and deep-thinking also result in creative potential, not only in negative emotions.
Perkins explained that he pondered on the fact that if some people are more prone to negative emotions because of self-generated thought this is because of the increased levels of spontaneous activity which occur in the medial prefrontal cortex that is involved in conscious perception of threat. As a consequence such people can switch to panic sooner than other people usually do. In addition they can have intense negative emotions even though there is nothing threatening around them. So Perkins drew the conclusion that it might be the case that neuroticism comes with an active imagination that acts like a threat generator. He further explained:
If neurotic people tend to think more about problems due to having a lot of threat-related self-generated thoughts — which explains their tendency to feel unhappy — it seems likely they will have a better chance to create solutions to those problems, compared to low scorers on neuroticism who look on the bright side of life all the time.”
The researchers said that further research is needed on this subject. Until then Perkins is hopeful that his theory could help people better understand their experiences and feelings and know that besides the anxiety and depression that comes with neuroticism creativity is a great benefit.
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