“Artists are moody,” goes the old cliché. But does it have scientific merit? And, if people with certain dispositions are more likely to be creative than others, does environment play a role or is creativity set in stone?
People who got negative feedback tended to display more artistic creativity than other participants. This was especially true for those who had low levels of the hormone DHEAS, which is linked to depression. So people who were predisposed to feeling bad took the negative criticism particularly hard—and that down mood made them more creative.
If depression and criticism yield creativity, then it’s no wonder we’re flush with tortured artists.