Comedians have high levels of psychotic traits: Study


ISLAMABAD: Having an unusual personality structure could be the secret to making other people laugh, scientists said after research showed that comedians have high levels of psychotic personality traits.

Researchers analysed comedians from Australia, Britain and the US and found they scored significantly higher on four types of psychotic characteristics compared to a control group of people who had non-creative jobs, said a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The traits included a tendency towards impulsive or anti-social behaviour, and a tendency to avoid intimacy. “The creative elements needed to produce humour are strikingly similar to those characterising the cognitive style of people with psychosis – both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” said Gordon Claridge of the University of Oxford, who led the study.

Although the traits in question are known as “psychotic”, Claridge said, they can also represent healthy equivalents of features such as moodiness, social introversion and the tendency to lateral thinking.

Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humour, in its lesser form it can increase people’s ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think ‘outside the box’ ,” he said.

“Equally, manic thinking – which is common in people with bipolar disorder – may help people combine ideas to form new, original and humorous connections.”

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