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A 39-year-old member asked:

Does the neurotransmitter dopamine have something to do with creativity?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 43 years experience
Not specifically: Creativity is not from a single neurotransmitter, but is a complicated process involving a whole person and his/her entire brain. For instance, when we're very anxious, our creativity suffers because our alarm system amygdala is in charge -- we're just trying to survive. When we can relax, we see more possibilities, & find creative solutions. Our prefrontal cortex -- & more -- activate!
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover
Psychiatry 40 years experience
Some research: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518064610.htm some connection between d2 system in highly creative people and in schizophrenia--surprising, as the relation between bipolar and creativity is known. But "studies have shown that Dopamine receptor genes are linked to ability for divergent thought" facility with metaphors perhaps in common--but in schiz. The metaphors are idiosyncratic.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 43 years experience
Interesting study here, Dr. Satinover -- thanks for posting. The so-called "dopamine hypothesis" of schizophrenia suggests that a too-high level of dopamine in the brain is related to psychotic symptoms, but here there is less density of D2 receptors in a thalamic gating area of schizophrenic and creative people. Underscores that it's not a particular neurotransmitter responsible for creativity, but perhaps more a working together of many factors. "Idiosyncratic" people may also be creative, no? How this shades into illness is an important and puzzling question.
Mar 5, 2013
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover
Psychiatry 40 years experience
Provided original answer
Agree fully. No way a single NT could be responsible for so encompassing a phenomenon. "Idiosyncratic" here meaning so pvt, self-referent
Mar 5, 2013

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Last updated Jun 25, 2014

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