Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2008

Full Length Research Paper

Reviewing the link between Creativity and Madness: A Postmodern Perspective

Caroline Koh
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University Singapore
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 25 September 2006
  •  Published: 31 October 2006



Researchers on creativity and psychology have long been fascinated with the high incidence of psychotic behavior amongst geniuses and individuals of exceptional creativity.  The aims of this paper are first, to review the existing findings for a better insight into the socio-contextual factors underpinning the mad genius conundrum, and secondly, to discuss how the development of postmodern thoughts and beliefs have influenced our perception and understanding of the emotional fabric of highly creative, though mentally-ill individuals.  While one cannot ignore the substantial body of evidence in support of the relationship between genius and madness, it is likely that many of the factors inducing psychosis in geniuses are no different from those achieving the same effects in ordinary people.  Furthermore, the unique features of post-modern times may have contributed to erasing the fine line between creativity and insanity, in ways that would not have been possible a century earlier. 


Keywords: Creativity, genius, madness, mental illness, psychotic behavior, postmodernism