Comedians have personality traits similar to those displayed by bipolar disorder and schizophrenia patients, a new study conducted by researchers at University of Oxford reveals.
Researchers from Oxford University and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust observed over 520 comedians in Britain, Australia and the US and asked them to fill out questionnaire that was designed to measure psychotic traits.
Some of the aspects they were questioned about included about unusual events, such as their belief in telepathy and paranormal events, Cognitive disorganization, such as difficulty in focusing thoughts, Introvertive anhedonia (their ability to feel social and physical pleasure and avoidance of intimacy) and Impulsive non-conformity, whether they had a tendency towards impulsive, antisocial behavior.
Around 364 actors also filled out the questionnaire and acted as the control group along with 831 people who worked in non-creative areas. The researchers found that comedians scored the highest among the three groups in all the four types of psychotic personality traits with particularly high scores for both extroverted and introverted personality traits. The study has been published in The British Journal of Psychiatry
"The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis - both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Comedians tend to be slightly withdrawn, introverted people who may not always want to socialize, and their comedy is almost an outlet for that. It's a kind of self-medication", Professor Gordon Claridge, of the University of Oxford's Department of Experimental Psychology, said.