Does the same thing that causes schizophrenia also cause genius?

I have been wondering about how some geniuses have had psychosis and how the psychosis relates to the genius. A genius is someone who creates something that that solves a profound problem and greatly improves the wellbeing of a society, like mathematician John Nash solved those Nazi encryption codes. :smile:

As for how the brain patterns translate into conscious thought, Elyn Saks, a mental health law professor at the University of Southern California, explained that people with psychosis don’t filter stimuli as well as other people. Instead, they’re able to entertain contradictory ideas simultaneously, and become aware of loose associations that most people’s unconscious brains wouldn’t consider worthy of sending to the surface of our consciousness. While the invasion of nonsense into conscious thought can be overwhelming and disruptive, “it can be quite creative, too,” said Saks, who developed schizophrenia as a young adult.

Throughout our daily lives we experience an influx of emotions, sensations, and sounds. If we had to consciously decide at all times what to ignore and what to pay attention to, we would quickly become overstimulated. This ability to screen things out of awareness that were previously tagged as irrelevant is called latent inhibition. Latent inhibition has a strong biological basis and operates automatically to filter out information. Those high in latent inhibition are very good at this inhibition. Those with a reduced latent inhibition have a difficult time with this form of inhibition. Reduced latent inhibition has been associated with schizophrenia as well as a predisposition to psychosis.

it depends how you define genius. the guys who created the internet didn’t have a mental illness. the guys who created apple didn’t have a mental illness, can you give an example of a genius with mental illness. it’s difficult to do so, and they are exceptions.

edit: Alan Turing solved the enigma codes by creating a computer, he wasn’t mentally ill.

People without mental illness can be creative geniuses. People with mental illness are more likely to be creative geniuses than healthy people.

Genes for Psychosis and Creativity
A Promoter Polymorphism of the Neuregulin 1 Gene Is Related to Creativity in People With High Intellectual Achievement
Szabolcs Kéri

  • Author Affiliations
    Semmelweis University
    Address correspondence to Szabolcs Kéri, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Semmelweis University, Budapest H1083, Balassa u. 6, Hungary, e-mail:

Why are genetic polymorphisms related to severe mental disorders retained in the gene pool of a population? A possible answer is that these genetic variations may have a positive impact on psychological functions. Here, I show that a biologically relevant polymorphism of the promoter region of the neuregulin 1 gene (SNP8NRG243177/rs6994992) is associated with creativity in people with high intellectual and academic performance. Intriguingly, the highest creative achievements and creative-thinking scores were found in people who carried the TIT genotype, which was previously shown to be related to psychosis risk and altered prefrontal activation.

The short answer to the title question is, “Yes.”

The longer (though still relatively brief) answer is that those who are more sensitive to stimulii are usually better at learning from those stimulations. BUT… if one is too sensitive, and the stimulations overwhelm his or her capacities to MAKE SENSE of them, psychosis of some sort is often the result.

Many mental health professionals now see that sz is a combination of genetic “nature” (a predisposition to unusual sensitivity) + “nurture” (the effects of what happened to the child, mostly in his or her family environment and inter-relationships).

All that said, one has to have a faster-than-usual “processor” to be a “genius.” And that fast processor is a direct result of dopamine flow from one neural synapse to the next. Sz pts appear to have “too much” dopamine flow vs. their brains’ capacities to make sense of the stimulations moving through those neural dopamine chains.


Definitely see some children/adolescents who can play back (like a video) a lecture or quick book read in order to pass a test. It all just plays back like a video tape for some. While, others have to cram or drill in material in order to use rote memory.

Think this happens due to unstimulating situation as children with the poorer ones being ignored and wealthier kids provided enough caregiver attention to perform better. Most of the poorer kids just entertained themselves, without anyone reading with them or helping with homework…sometimes poorer kid’s schools not even providing lectures on the homework and kids just had to learn it out of book. Bad schooling like this also left the poor children grading their own papers. So, you know how these kids passed – they cheated. Lots of the high schooling has been so bad, continues to be so bad one can pass without even showing up because the administration just want to move the troubled ones through without redoes…

I would say ‘reality’ and matrix functioning does play a role in individual performance, especially if you are aware of it.

I have done my DNA for genealogical purposes and an offshoot of that was to have a report done. It shows I have the TT variant. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly creative now though.
Having said that I used to be more creative when more acutely ill

You might be interested in understanding the nature of the “retiring / schizoid” and “eccentric / schizotypal” personalities with respect to what you wrote there. (The author if these two pages wrote the first drafts of the Axis II “personality” sections of the DSM IIIs and IVs. he is generally considered to be THE authority on personality, especially by those of us who think the DSM V is a patent chunk of ■■■■.)

I think that geniuses are people who are forced or lead to think differently from the crowds for some reason or another, and so find things the crowds are less obliged into finding for by going in the direction that keeps them feeling safer just by naturally fitting in with the greater numbers who ordinarily find the same things. The geniuses’ “on the other hand” who sometimes stay only loosely attached to what is normal while exploring the newer possibilities of thought and expression (if not too bothered by their indifferences to the world) will at times find those new ways of expression. This is what I would define as true individualism. The soul unique, but not alone in so being one.