Check this out.

Despite those who romanticize depression as the wellspring of artistic genius, studies find that people are most creative when they are in a good mood, and now researchers may have explained why: For better or worse, happy people have a harder time focusing.

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As for the myth of the depressed but brilliant artist, Anderson speculates that creativity may be a form of self-medication, giving a gloomy artist the chance to adopt a cheerful disposition.

I’m often surprised at how these studies miss the point entirely. Sometimes I get the impression that people who study happiness have no idea what they’re looking for, so they waste their time answering redundant questions and then trying to make a case for causality.

I do not believe that the depression-creativity link is a “myth.” Here’s why: there are two major stages in any creative enterprise. The first is raw creativity, which we can describe as the ability to generate ideas and concepts that will, eventually, translate into some form of unique art or solution. The second stage in this process is actually following through.

So, given this study’s findings, I think it’s contradicted itself. If depressed people have “laserlike” attention, then it follows that they’re more likely to follow through with their creative enterprises, while happy people — who are full of ideas — will not spend much time on any one idea, thus producing nothing.

I’m not trying to make an argument for depression, just that some scientists seem to be unable to fully understand their own results, and this type of nonsense is what generates massive income for the snake-oil salesmen.

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