Anxiety and Flexability

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Unformatted text preview: STATUS: PENDING 20080328 OCLC #: 18299247 REQUEST DATE: 20080328 NEED BEFORE: 20080427 SOURCE: ILLiad BORROWER: DKC RECEIVE DATE : DUE DATE : RENEWAL REQ: NEW DUE DATE : SPCL MES : *41311009* LENDERS: *vvs, VNS, WLD, YBM, sco LHR SUMMARY: 11-(1998-) TITLE: Creativity research journal. ISSN: PATRON: Reisig, Alexander 1040-0419 ARTICLE: Carlsson, Ingegerd: Anxiety and flexibility of ' lg? (z EM 0, (- defense related to high or low creatIVIty. VOLUME: 14 ISSUE NUMBER: 3 ISSUE DATE: 1 2002 PAGES: 341- VERIFIED: <TN266212><ODY$SEY2206.107.42.171/ILL> OCLC SHIP TO: ILL / Dickinson College Library lP.O.Box 1773/ 5 N. Orange St./ Carlisle PA 17013 SHIP VIA: IDS—#205/UPS/LR BILL TO: Same. FEIN: 231365954. COPYRIGHT COMPLIANCE: CCL MAXCOST: IFM - 50.00 BILLING NOTES: Please include patron name and ILL number on all invoices ODYSSEY: 206.107.42.171/ILL FAX: (717)245-1439 EMAIL: ARIEL 192.102.232.36 Iibnote@dickinson.edu AFFILIATION: ACLCP,LVIS,OBERLIN,PALCI,PRILL,TCLC Creativity Research Journal 2002, Vol. 14, Nos. 3 & 4, 341—349 Copyright 2002 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. ER Anxiety and Flexibility of Defense Related to High or Low Creativity Ingegerd Carlsson Department of Psychology, Lund University ER ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investi- gate dijferences in anxiety and defense mechanisms be- tween difierently creative people. Two extreme groups that scored either very high or very low on a test of the creative function were selected from a larger cohort (N = 60). Each group consisted of 12 male undergrad- uate students, who took a test of defense mechanisms and completed anxiety inventories. The results showed that the high-creative group had more anxiety than the low-creative group. The high-creative group also used a greater number of dtfirerent defense categories than the low-creative group. The number of defense cate- gories was positively correlated with a fluency mea- sure in the creativity test. These results are discussed in terms of variability in basal arousal, flexibility, and a creative defensive style. New ventures are often exciting and exhilarating, but they are understandably also sometimes associated with worry or even fear. Having the courage to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty, and threats of disappoint- ment is an integral part of being creative (Barron, 1963; Maslow, 1959). Thus in previous research, cre- ative endeavors were coupled with feelings of anxiety (Eiduson, 1962; Maddi &Andrews, 1966). Not only is the activity per se anxiety arousing, but it has also been proposed that creative people are equipped with a higher level of basal arousal (Eysenck, 1973; Mar- tindale & Armstrong, 1974; Martindale, Anderson, Moore, & West, 1996). It is likely, though, that “an excess of anxiety, or a rigid system of defenses, would. . . . prevent the en- gagement of new and unusual thoughts and ideas” (Smith & Carlsson, 1990, p. 77). Smith, Carlsson, and Danielsson (1985), for example, found depressive or compulsive defenses and grave anxiety, as measured by the Meta-Contrast Technique (MCT; Smith, John— son, & Almgren, 2001), clearly associated with low scores on a creativity test in a sample of psychiatric patients. Also, depression in the MCT was negatively related to creativity in a study of patients with depres- sive symptoms (Smith & Carlsson, 1988). But less ex- treme levels of anxiety were positively associated with raters’ judgments of artistic criteria in a study of young schoolchildren (Smith & Carlsson, 19830). A study of older children established the connection be- tween repression in the MCT and high creativity scores, as well as the detrimental influence of isola- tion and depression (Smith & Carlsson, 1985). Fur- thermore, in a study of 171 children, repression in the MCT was connected with creativity (Carlsson & Smith, 1997), whereas isolation or projection, when appearing as sole categories, often signified low- creative potential. Even though repression was the particular category positively related to creativity in this study, creative persons responded with mixed defensive strategies significantly more than the low- creative ones. Thus, repression together with both iso- lation and projection were often intermingled in the responses given by a creative youngster. The above-mentioned test of creativity, namely the Creative Functioning Test (CFT; Smith & Carlsson, 2000), was used in this study, which was part of a more extensive investigation of the present partici- pants, including measurements of cerebral blood flow. These results are described elsewhere (Carlsson, Wendt, & Risberg, 2000). The CFT stems from the perceptgenetic model of personality, which implies that our perception is the result of ultrabrief construc- tion processes in the mind or brain (Kragh & Smith, R I thank Catharina Brolin for valuable help with the scoring of the protocols and Gunilla Amnér and Gudmund Smith for being second judges of, respectively, the CFI‘ and the MCT. Correspondence and requests for reprints should be sent to Ingegerd Carlsson, National Institute of Working Life, ALI—Syd, SE 205 06 Malrno, Sweden. E—mail: Ingegerd.Carlsson@psychology.lu.se \ Creativity Research Journal 341 I. Carlsson ________________—————-——— 1970; Westerlundh & Smith, 1983). By means of tachistoscopic prolongation of the perceptual process, it is possible to get a glimpse into the more prelimi- nary and subjective phases and to catch associations derived from personal veins. A creative person is par- ticularly apt to be liberated to a certain degree from ra— tional (secondary) thought processes and to activate a more associative or primary process-colored way of thinking (Kris, 1952; Martindale, 1989; Wild, 1965). As formulated by Carlsson (1992), this gives an op- portunity for subjective imagination to surface into consciousness (or, in perceptgenetic terms, to be re- constructed) during the perceptual process. The MCT was applied in this study as a means of assessing defense mechanisms and anxiety. This per- ceptgenetic test has been thoroughly investigated in clinical, developmental, and neuropsychological set— tings (Johanson, 1991; Smith & Carlsson, 1990; Smith & Danielsson, 1982). The scope of defensive strate— gies scorable in the MCT is wide, ranging from re- gressive discontinuity to intellectualization. It was thus suitable for the study of creative people, who are characterized by flexible cognitive functioning (Runco & Okuda, 1991; Torrance, 1972). In accor- dance with the research reported earlier, it was pre- dicted that the high-creative people in this study would have mixed defenses in the MCT, whereas the low-creative group would show a more unidimen- sional defensive style, presumably with a certain dom- inance of isolation or depression. Because different tests of anxiety would together provide a more valid measure of an individual’s anxiety level, a question— naire on state and trait anxiety (STAI; Spielberger, 1983) was also included in the study. Regarding anxi- ety, the high-creative participants were predicted to have more of such signs in the MCT (except grave anxiety indicating anxiety intolerance), as well as higher scores on the STAI, than the low-creative group. Method Participants A total cohort of 60 male undergraduate students was recruited through personal information or posters. They were first tested with the CPT. If the participant received either a very high or a very low score on the CFT, he was asked to take part in the full investigation and gave a signed informed consent. Only one person did not want to participate. Thus, a high-creative group (n = 12) and a low-creative group (n = 12) were formed. Both groups had a mean age of 23 years (range 20—27) and consisted of people from several university faculties. All participants were healthy ac- cording to a standardized medical questionnaire. They were decidedly right-handed on the Edinburgh hand- edness inventory (Oldfield, 1971). The participants took the MCT on the same occasion as the CFT. The complete investigation included two more sessions for each participant (including brain measurements and cognitive tests). The CFT Testing procedure of the CFT. The tachisto- scopically presented stimulus in the CFT is a still life drawn in black and white depicting two common objects. The picture, which was drawn by an artist, is built up by shadings and diffuse contours that make it fairly easy to see other things in it (e.g., a face, a body, or a landscape). The participant was instructed that pictures would be shown very briefly, but not that they were one and the same picture. He was asked to describe after each exposure what he thought he saw on the screen, even if he was not quite certain. In the increasing series, the picture was shown on gradually prolonged exposure times, starting with 0.02 sec. When the participant had identified the correct con- tents, the time increase was halted and then reversed to form the decreasing series. During this part of the session, the exposure times were successively short- ened, ending when nothing could be discerned on the screen. For further technical and experimental specifi- cations, consult the manual (Smith & Carlsson, 2000). Creativity dimensions in the CFT. A first crucial dimension of relevance for creativity was the ability to form mental representations of the indistinct contours and shapes glimpsed on the screen. This ability was tried in the increasing series, in which the perceived meanings can vary considerably between persons. The number of different interpretations in the increasing series correlated moderately with independent criteria of creativity (Smith & Carlsson, 1990). However, it was difficult in this part of the test to distinguish between ______—_______._———-——————- 342 Creativity Research Journal associating fluency on the one hand and the ability to shift from rational thought to more primary process ori- ented cognition on the other. This distinction was put to the test in the decreasing portion of the CFT: When the participant has grasped the real meaning of the picture, this objective perception supposedly exerts a consider- able influence on the viewer. Relying on rational analy- sis, individuals would treat their own subjective picture meanings from the increasing series as mistakes and in the decreasing series would comply with the objective reality of logical facts. From a more cognitivistic per— spective, a formulation such as “creativity . . . produced by an absence of cognitive inhibition” (Eysenck, 1995, p. 253) is feasible. Thus when correct recognition had been attained, a low-creative person would inhibit, or not consciously attend to, any subjective interpretation from the increasing series during the decreasing part of the test. On the other hand, high—creative individuals would be inclined to shift from rational (secondary) thought processes and assign priority to their subjective (imaginary) representational world. In other words, they would prefer to perceive complexity rather than the simplicity of the logical solution (cf. Barron, 1953; Eysenck, 1941). Scoring of the CFT. Both the increasing and the decreasing series were scored. In the increasing series, the number of themes was estimated. Each different subjective interpretation was alotted 1 point, and a partially new theme rendered one half point. For the decreasing series, the manual describes a scale with 6 steps. In this study, they were compressed into 3 steps, as in Carlsson (1990): - High creativity (Steps 5—6): During the decreasing series the correct perception was totally abandoned, and on one or several expo- sures the whole picture was seen as something completely different 0 Medium creativity (Steps 2—4): Only a part of the picture was given a different interpretation or the interpretation was more like a vague as— sociation or only implied plastic changes of the contents - Low creativity (Step 1): No changes or at the most the picture got foggy or darker. In this study, the CFT protocols were scored by the author and by an independent judge. Disagreements Creativity Research Journal Anxiety and Defense in High or Low Creativity occurred for three protocols. A third judge scored these protocols, and a final majority decision was reached. Thus, the low-creative group came to consist of 10 low and 2 medium cases (due to an oversight by the author when selecting the participants). All in the high-creative group belonged to the high category. Validity and reliability of the CFT. In an exten- sive series of investigations, there have been high cor- relations between the CFT and criteria such as rich- ness of ideas, expressiveness, originality, creative interests, and predictions of creative achievements. Real—life products, including children’s drawings and clay figures; the paintings of professional artists; or the scientific work of researchers have been judged by external raters in, for example, studies of researchers (G = .67), professional artists (r = .72), children (r = .83), and advanced students of architecture (r = .46) (Schoon, 1992; Smith & Carlsson, 1983a, 1983b, 1985; Smith, Carlsson, & Sandstrom, 1985; Smith & Danielsson, 1978). The first 12 validation studies were collected in Smith and Carlsson (1990). Recent— ly, a high CFT score (in university teachers) was asso— ciated with the university being regarded a place of openness and diversity (Ryhammar, 1996; Ryhammar & Smith, 1999). The MCT In the MCT a threatening stimulus picture shown subliminally is supposed to give rise to anxiety and subsequent defense mechanisms. The tachistoscopic prolongation of the perceptual process makes it possi- ble to see how different perceptual distortions, indica- tive of defensive processes, emerge and succeed one another on the way toward correct perception. Testing procedure of the MCT. The test con- sists of two stimulus pictures, shown on the same semitransparent screen, by the use of two tachisto- scopes. The threat stimulus (T) depicts an aggressive monster face. The second picture (B) shows a boy sit- ting at a table with a window in the background. The testing started with the B picture being presented and stabilized (in an initial series), followed by the threat series, during which T was quickly flashed on the screen, immediately before B, which acted as a mask 343 I. Carlsson ——-—————————h——_ for the threat. Although the exposure time for B was kept constant, that of T was gradually prolonged, until the threat had been correctly perceived and described. (For experimental specifications of the illumination and other variables, see Smith, Johnson, and Almgren, 2001). Scoring in the MCT. All the major categories in the manual were used. They are briefly described in the following (except the category of narcissism, which seldom occurred): 0 Anxiety often implied that the picture was per— ceived as becoming darker, or a marked exaggeration of black structures in the picture. It was divided into mild, moderate, or grave anxiety in accordance with the manual. - Isolation consisted of different subcategories, implying, for instance, a whitening of the area where the T was projected or putting up a barrier or increas— ing the perceived distance between T and B. Vague re- sponses were scored as isolation tendencies. - Repression covered categories more typical for children (for instance, only a small part of the T was seen or the test person shut his eyes) as well as more dis— tant, neutral interpretations of the threat (a tree, a house, etc.). Uncertain answers were placed as tendencies. - Projection/sensitivity indicated that the sensitive individual reacted early in the testing to the influence of the subliminal threat by perceiving small changes in the B picture. To be scored for sensitivity, at least two such changes must be scored. More clearly pro- jective answers included, for instance, perceived movements in the picture, or T seen as nice, having a friendly smile. Uncertain, single responses were scored as tendencies to projection. - Regressive strategies implied that the stabilized perception of the B picture from one exposure to the next was broken; for example, the Boy picture was interpreted as having changed completely, or the test person shifted from a mature defense to child- like interpretations. - Depression implies a long series of uninterpreted or stereotyped misinterpretations of the threat, indica- tive of inhibition. Also included was softened stereo- typy (according to the manual), in which the stereo- typed series of misinterpretation of the threat was slightly changed, indicating depressive tendency. - Defense sum is a measure of the degree of vari— ability in the defensive structure, obtained by points alotted in the following way. For isolation, scores in more than one subcategory earned 3 points, one subcategory was given 2 points, and a tendency to isolation earned 1 point. The same principles were applied for repression. Signs of pro- jection resulted in 3 points, a projection tendency 2 points, and sensitivity 1 point. A regressive sign ren- dered 2 points. Because depression, by definition, im— plies an inflexible, stereotyped way of responding, it was not included in this measure. Thus the possible range of scores was from 0 to 11 points. All protocols were scored by the author and by an— other judge with no knowledge of the CFI‘ results. Disagreements were due to oversights or concerned the distinction between a proper sign or a tendency. Most disagreements were solved in a joint discussion. For some remaining differences of opinion, a third trained judge was consulted. Validity and reliability of the MCT. More than 25 validation papers concerning both child and adult psychiatric patients, as well as nonclinical groups, have chiseled out the different scorable categories of defensive distortions. The clinical criteria refer to symptom description and controlled behavioral obser- vations (e.g., Nyman & Smith, 1961; Smith & Danielsson, 1982), as well as suicidal risk (Berglund & Smith, 1988) or psychosomatic symptoms (Mag— nusson, Nilsson, & Henriksson, 1977), among others. Generally, interrater correlations, between trained raters, and test—retest correlatidns have been close to the statistical ceiling. STAI The STAI consists of two forms, each containing 20 anxiety—related statements, that were assessed on a 4-grade scale. The forms were administered on the second day of investigation, after the measurements of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) were finished. For the state anxiety form, the participant was in- structed to think about how he had felt during the rCBF session. The trait form concerned mood in gen— eral. Reliability and validity data are found in Spiel— berger (1983). No Swedish norms are available. ,, 344 Creativity Research Journal The CF T Number of themes. The number of different interpretations of the stimulus picture in the increasing series was scored. The highly creative people had more significations in the increasing series. Mean for the high group was 3.4, compared to 1.3 in the low group, giving a p < .001; t(22) = 5.63, two-tailed test. The MCT Level for correct perception of threat. At expo- sure level 11 (320 ms) or earlier, 13 participants (best median) reported that they saw an angry face (or a similar description) at the place of the window in the Boy picture. The median was the same for both cre— ativity groups. At level 13 (640 ms) all but two (low— creative) individuals had perceived the angry face. Anxiety. As shown in Table 1, the high-creative group showed more signs of anxiety in the MCT than the low-creative group (xzcm = 4.17, p = .041). If, according to the prediction, grave anxiety was counted together with no anxiety, the contrast yielded a chm = 8.40 (p = .004; Table 1). Repression. There was no significant difference for repression. Nine men in the high-creative group had at least one clear sign of repression, compared to 7 low-creative men. With tendencies included, the num- bers increased to 11 versus 9 people. More than one subcategory of repression was found in 5 high-creative people and 3 low—creative people. Isolation. No significant difference was found. Figures for isolation were 4 versus 5 participants and Table 1. Number of Participants with Diflerent Levels of Anxiety in the MCT in the High- and Low-Creative Groups Grave Moderate or No Anxiety Slight Anxiety Anxiety High—Creative Group 0 9 3 Low-Creative Group 2 1 9 Anxiety and Defense in High or Low Creativity R Results 7 in both groups if tendencies were also counted. Two in the high group had more than one subcategory ver- sus none in the low group. Projection/sensitivity. Table 2 shows that the high-creative group had more signs of projection or tendencies to projection than the low-creative group (xzcm = 4.17; p = .041). Sensitivity did not differ between the groups (Table 2). Regression. These signs were scarce. Three high-creative persons had regressive signs, compared to one in the low-creative group. Depression. There was no score for depression in the high—creative group and 4 scores in the low— creative group. MCT defense sum. The mean defense sum was significantly higher in the high-creative group (5.6) than in the low-creative group (3.7; t(22) = 2.25; p = .035, two-tailed test). The defense sum was further- more positively correlated with number of themes in the CFT (Pearson’s r = .54;p = .007). STAI For the total group the state anxiety mean was 35.1, and trait anxiety was 31.1. (Corresponding figures for American male college students were 36.5 versus 38.3; Spielberger, 1983.) The forms were not signifi- cantly intercorrelated. The high-creative group had higher trait anxiety than the low-creative group, M: 33.1 versus 29.2; t(22) = 2.036; p = .05, two-tail. Table 2. Number of Participants with Projection and Pro- jective Tendencies, With Sensitivity or With No Such Sign in the MC T in the High— or Low-Creative Groups E Projection Tendency Sensitivity N 0 Sign “H— Hi gh-Creative Group 9 2 1 Low-Creative Group 3 5 4 a“ M— Creativity Research Journal I. Carlsson The means for state anxiety tended to differ, M: 37.4 versus 32.8; t(22) = 1.66; p < .10, one-tailed. The MCT Compared With the STAI Scores from the STAI were not related to the de- fense sum nor to anxiety in the MCT, although indi— viduals with anxiety in the MCT tended to have higher state anxiety, the means were 37.3 versus 32.9; t(22) = 1.53; p < .10, one—tailed. Because the high-creative group scored higher on both trait anxiety and MCT anxiety, a combination was tried. In this composite measure, all MCT anxiety was included, and for trait anxiety the cut was at the median. Table 3 shows that no one in the low—creative group received scores on both anxiety measures, com- pared to half the high-creative group (x2 = 5.56; p = .018). COIT. Discussion The results confirmed that the high-creative group would have a higher level of anxiety than the low- creative group. Mild and moderate signs of anxiety in the MCT were found almost exclusively in the cre— ative people. Furthermore, this group also had higher trait anxiety. The state and trait anxiety forms were not significantly correlated with the MCT, however. Prob— able confounding factors include that the participants took the MCT and the STAI on separate occasions, 2 or 3 weeks apart, and that the state anxiety form was aimed at level of distress during the measurements of cerebral blood flow. When considered together, the MCT and the STAI nevertheless seemed to comple- ment one another because half the high—creative group had a high score on both anxiety measures in contrast to no one in the low-creative group. These results Table 3. Number of Participants With Both MCT Anxiety and Trait Anxiety Above Median, With Either, or With None in the High- and Low-Creative Groups MCT and Trait Either MCT Neither Anxiety or Trait Nor High-Creative Group 6 6 0 Lovareative Group 0 7 5 point toward a higher basal arousal in the creative peo— ple. Also indicative of this was the study mentioned earlier of blood flow in the brain (Carlsson, Wendt, & Risberg, 2000). In that study (using the same partici- pants as in the present one), the high-creative group had higher overall blood flow during the first mea- surement, when they were instructed just to relax and rest with closed eyes. However, it may be reasonably assumed that a cohort who volunteered to take part in a rather demanding project did not have high anxiety. Compared with a study of undergraduates, in which the selection into a high anxiety group implied a score on the trait form of at least 43 (Eysenck, 1985), no person in the present group had 43 points or higher. A question of interest is whether MCT anxiety can be considered to be more related to trait or to state anxi- ety. People with a (relatively) high level of basal arousal are naturally apt to get frightened more easily (cf. Spielberger, 1983). Because the MCT contains an anxiety-provoking stimulus, perhaps state anxiety would be more to the point. This speculation needs further testing. The creative participants thus had more anxious arousal than the low—creative persons. This result leads to an apparent contradiction, namely that to have good access to primary process or free associative cognition (necessary for performing well on the CFT) would seem to imply low arousal. As accounted by Eysenck (1995), empirical studies have found that defocussed attention, flat associative hierarchies (Mednick, 1962), and primary process thought are connected with states of low cortical activation, and furthermore that stress— ful conditions would impair performance. A solution to this contradiction may be the suggestion that cre— ative people have a greater variability of arousal (Mar- tindale & Hasenfus, 1978; Martindale & Hines, 1975). As noted by Martindale (1981), this is a psychophysi- ological restatement of Kris’s (1952) contention that creative people are more variable on the primary-sec- ondary process continuum. It is probable that the CFT testing was more conducive to low arousal, because the test instructions contained little performance stress and because the test person was unaware that creative function was being evaluated. The MCT was, on the other hand, in itself anxiety arousing. Regarding the categories of defense in the MCT, repression or isolation as single categories did not dif- fer between the groups. Isolation alone was predicted to be negatively related to creativity. Given that there 346 Creativity Research Journal Anxiety and Defense in High or Low Creativity \ was in fact only one (low-creative) man who had a clear isolation sign without concomitant repression or projection, this prediction could not be investigated. Projection and regression were more common in the high-creative group. These functions stem from rela- tively early stages in the development and might imply a certain degree of immaturity in this group. However, be— cause these signs appeared together with more mature defenses as well, they could in that context indicate a certain openness to childlike functioning or adaptive re- gression. The availability of several ways of handling distress and fear is likely to be less gender stereotyped (Milgram, Yitzhak, & Milgram, 1977). Given that pro- jection was earlier found to be more frequent in girls than in boys (Carlsson & Smith, 1997), it could suggest a higher level of androgyny in creative individuals. High androgyny in more creative men, as opposed to less cre- ative men, was actually found in a study of 163 men and women who were tested with the CFT and who also an- swered a sex-role inventory (J onsson & Carlsson, 2000). The high-creative group utilized as hypothesized a more varied repertoire in the MCT. This variation was moreover positively related to number of different in- terpretations in the CFT, which might imply a superor- dinate cognitive flexibility. It also suggests that defen- sive functions may be used more or less rigidly and, speculatively, that defense and coping are perhaps not mutually exclusive. This View stands in certain con- trast to Plutchik (1995), who viewed defenses as hav- ing limited adaptive value, and that they “should be contrasted with coping styles, which are methods adults consciously use to solve problems” (p. 19). However, the ability to change one’s cognitive per- spective would seem to be positive for good adapta- tion, or coping. Examples in this study of low flexibil- ity were those participants who responded with depressive stereotypy in the MCT. They quite under- standably showed little variation in their defensive makeup. Consequently, the sum of defense calculated in this study ought not be considered in the first place as indicative of rigid defensiveness but rather as what might be likened with a “fencing ability.” Adopting the term defensive style (Bond, 1995), it would thus be possible to outline a creative defensive style. This would include the concomitant appearance of both mature and immature defenses, in certain analogy with the way that creative men and women move rela- tively freely along the primary—secondary process continuum. Although scores for depression were more preva- lent in the low-creative group, the possibility that the high—creative group might have tendencies to other psychological dysfunctions cannot be ruled out. The relation between a high-creative function in the CFT and different symptomatologies has been little investi- gated. Other research has found a relatively high pro- portion of psychopathology in artists, writers, and other groups (Andreasen, 1987; Barron, 1969; Jami- son, 1989). It is conceivable that the higher level of basal arousal as well as the immature (in grown-ups) functions of projection and regression are associated with a certain vulnerability to stress. Interestingly, Sjoback (1991) pointed out that although depressive persons are more realistic, “so—called normal persons are, in their turn, entangled in self—enhancing and saliently optimistic illusions and self-deceptions about themselves and the world” (p. 13). Finally, the large group of medium—creative stu— dents, even though excluded from this study, is never- theless worth some consideration. In a recent study (Carlsson, Amnér, & Smith, submitted), medium cre- ativity in the CFT was found in almost two thirds of tested pilots and other officers at a Swedish air force wing, whereas high creativity was seen in less than 10%. The authors referred to early research on pilots that stressed the importance of so-called controlled imagination (Anderson, 1919). Medium creativity was also more salient in a study of researchers, who, of course, need a good hold both on reality and on their own subjective ideas (Smith & Danielsson, 1978). In this light, the strong subjectivity in a high-creative person most likely entails disadvantages as well as ad- vantages—the openness and attraction toward com- plexity also put strains on the individual. References Anderson, H. G. (1919). The psychology of aviation. In The med- ical and surgical aspects of aviation (pp. 67—109). London: Ox- ford University Press. Andreasen, N. C. (1987). Creativity of mental illness: Prevalence rates in writers and their first-degree relatives. American Jour- nal of Psychiatry, 144, 1288—1292. Barron, F. (1953). Complexity—simplicity as a personality dimen- sion. Journal ofAbnormal and Social Psychology, 48, 103—72. Barron, F. (1963). 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