The Relationship Between Schizotypy, Cannabis Use, and Creativity

creativitySchizotypy involves subclinical indicators of risk for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. As levels of schizotypy increase, individuals are often described as increasingly eccentric and may perceive things differently than those with low levels of schizotypy.

Interestingly, individuals with high levels of creativity can oftentimes be described as seeing the world in novel ways and can sometimes be perceived as eccentric. In fact, previous empirical research 2016 Psychology Conference 4 suggests a positive relationship between creativity and positive schizotypy traits (Folley, 2005).

Contemporary definitions of creativity tend to focus on the underlying individual differences (capacity for divergent thinking, personality traits; Mark, 2006). In addition, there is another variable, i.e, engagement in substance use that appears to be independently related to both increased levels of schizotypy and creativity.

Lowe found a link between substance use and creativity, however not causal (1995). Fridberg measured cannabis and personality traits among chronic and nonchronic cannabis users and found chronic-cannabis users presented more positive disorganized symptoms of schizotypy (2010).

However, there is little known about the co-existing relationship between all of these phenomena. The current study examines the relationships between schizotypy, creativity, and cannabis use by replicating previous findings and expanding results to negative schizotypy. We developed several hypotheses based on findings from the empirical literature. First, we expected individuals scoring higher on positive schizotypy traits will demonstrate higher divergent thinking scores than individuals with higher negative schizotypy traits.

Second, we hypothesized cannabis users would present higher levels of positive schizotypy. Thirdly, we hypothesized that the interaction between negative schizotypy traits and cannabis use would exhibit lower creativity. Participants comprised undergraduate students. The sample included forty-four males and eighty-three females with a mean age of 19.69 years (SD: 3.25).

Measures for schizotypy included Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-BF (SPQRBR; Cohen et al., 2008) and Oxford Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE; Mason, Linney, & Carlidge, 2005). Creativity was measured using the Wallach Kogan Creativity Tests (WCKT; Wallach & Kogan, 1965) the Creative Achievement Questionnaire (CAQ; Carson, Peterson, & Higgins, 2005) and the Kaufman Domains of Creativity Scale (K-DOCS; Kaufman, 2012). Substance use was measured using Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test V3.0 (ASSIST V3.0; WHO, 2010). Pearson bivariate correlations showed significant correlations between creativity and schizotypy.

The creativity measure Creative Acts Questionnaire sub domain architectural design, inventions, and scientific discovery had the strongest correlations with schizotypy measures. Regression tests were run to measure how gender, schizotypy traits, and substance use predict levels of creativity.

Results were not significant. Therefore, results only supported our first hypothesis. The creative measures showed there is a relationship with schizotypy, specifically positive and disorganized. Our second and third hypotheses were not supported. Of the 127 participants in the study only eighty-six said yes to using cannabis, limiting our results. Future research should examine these variables via a longitudinal study.

Authors: Adelyn Schuenzel, Dr. Thomas Dinzeo, Ph.D, Christina Carter, M.A., & Melissa Charfadi, M.A.

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