Issues of temperament could be the value certain individuals pay for high insight, research finds.
Psychologists have observed that higher youth IQ is connected to highlights of bipolar problems in youthful adulthood.
The research adds fuel to the debate over the connection between intelligence, creativity, and mental health issues.
For the research, 1,881 people were followed from age 8 until they were 22 or 23-years-old.
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Their IQ was measured along with any characteristics of mood disorders.
The results showed that having ten more IQ points at age 8 was linked to being in the top ten percent for having manic personality traits in their early twenties.
Professor Daniel Smith, one of the study’s authors said;
A possible link between bipolar disorder and intelligence and creativity has been discussed for many years and many studies have suggested a link. In this large study, we found that better performance on IQ tests at age eight predicted bipolar features in young adulthood.
We are not saying that high childhood IQ is a clear-cut risk factor for bipolar disorder but rather that there is likely to be shared biology between intelligence and bipolar disorder which needs to be understood more fully.
Many other factors – including a family history of mental illness, childhood adversity, stressful life events, and drug misuse – are known to increase an individual’s risk of developing bipolar disorder.
Our finding has implications for the understanding of how liability to bipolar disorder may have been selected through generations. One possibility is that serious disorders of mood such as bipolar disorder are the price that human beings have had to pay for more adaptive traits such as intelligence, creativity, and verbal proficiency.
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This work will inform future genetic studies at the interface of intelligence, creativity, and bipolar disorder, and will help with efforts to improve approaches to the earlier detection of bipolar disorder in adolescents and young adults.