Based on studies on the biographies of artists and in research in which modern diagnostic criteria were applied, it is suggested that there is a relationship between bipolar disorder (BD) and creativity.
Investigate the relationship between BD and creativity and whether creative capacity varies depending on the mood state.
We conducted a systematic search of the scientific literature using the Pubmed databases, ISI Web of Science, PsycINFO and SciELO with the terms “bipolar” OR “bipolar disorder” OR “mania” OR “manic” AND “creativ*”. Original studies were selected with samples from at least ten patients with BD and who used at least one psychometric instrument to assess creativity.
Twelve articles met the selection criteria. When comparing BD patients and control groups without BD, the results were heterogeneous. BD was not associated with higher levels of creativity than other mental disorders. When comparing BD phases, depression was associated with worse performance on creativity tests and patients in mania (or hypomania) were not distinguished from euthymia patients.
It was not possible to corroborate the idea that individuals with BD are more creative than individuals without psychiatric diagnoses or patients suffering from other mental disorders, which may be related to conducting cross-sectional evaluation, and not longitudinal, in virtually all clinical studies.