Imagining the impossible before breakfast: the relation between creativity, dissociation, and sleep

Dalena van Heugten-van der Kloet, Jan Cosgrave, Harald Merckelbach, Ross Haines, Stuart Golodetz, Steven Jay Lynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dissociative symptoms have been related to higher rapid eye movement sleep density, a sleep phase during which hyperassociativity may occur. This may enhance artistic creativity during the day. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a creative photo contest to explore the relation between dissociation, sleep, and creativity. During the contest, participants (N = 72) took one photo per day for five consecutive days, based on specific daily themes (consisting of single words) and the instruction to take as creative a photo as possible each day. Furthermore, they completed daily measures of state dissociation and a short sleep diary. The photos and their captions were ranked by two professional photographers and two clinical psychologists based on creativity, originality, bizarreness, and quality. We expected that dissociative people would rank higher in the contest compared with low-dissociative participants, and that the most original photos would be taken on days when the participants scored highest on acute dissociation. We found that acute dissociation predicted a higher ranking on creativity. Poorer sleep quality and fewer hours of sleep predicted more bizarreness in the photos and captions. None of the trait measures could predict creativity. In sum, acute dissociation related to enhanced creativity. These findings contribute to our understanding of dissociative symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number324
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Cite this

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title = "Imagining the impossible before breakfast: the relation between creativity, dissociation, and sleep",
abstract = "Dissociative symptoms have been related to higher rapid eye movement sleep density, a sleep phase during which hyperassociativity may occur. This may enhance artistic creativity during the day. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a creative photo contest to explore the relation between dissociation, sleep, and creativity. During the contest, participants (N = 72) took one photo per day for five consecutive days, based on specific daily themes (consisting of single words) and the instruction to take as creative a photo as possible each day. Furthermore, they completed daily measures of state dissociation and a short sleep diary. The photos and their captions were ranked by two professional photographers and two clinical psychologists based on creativity, originality, bizarreness, and quality. We expected that dissociative people would rank higher in the contest compared with low-dissociative participants, and that the most original photos would be taken on days when the participants scored highest on acute dissociation. We found that acute dissociation predicted a higher ranking on creativity. Poorer sleep quality and fewer hours of sleep predicted more bizarreness in the photos and captions. None of the trait measures could predict creativity. In sum, acute dissociation related to enhanced creativity. These findings contribute to our understanding of dissociative symptomatology.",
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Imagining the impossible before breakfast : the relation between creativity, dissociation, and sleep. / van Heugten-van der Kloet, Dalena; Cosgrave, Jan; Merckelbach, Harald; Haines, Ross; Golodetz, Stuart; Lynn, Steven Jay.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6, 324, 03.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T2 - the relation between creativity, dissociation, and sleep

AU - van Heugten-van der Kloet, Dalena

AU - Cosgrave, Jan

AU - Merckelbach, Harald

AU - Haines, Ross

AU - Golodetz, Stuart

AU - Lynn, Steven Jay

PY - 2015/3

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AB - Dissociative symptoms have been related to higher rapid eye movement sleep density, a sleep phase during which hyperassociativity may occur. This may enhance artistic creativity during the day. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a creative photo contest to explore the relation between dissociation, sleep, and creativity. During the contest, participants (N = 72) took one photo per day for five consecutive days, based on specific daily themes (consisting of single words) and the instruction to take as creative a photo as possible each day. Furthermore, they completed daily measures of state dissociation and a short sleep diary. The photos and their captions were ranked by two professional photographers and two clinical psychologists based on creativity, originality, bizarreness, and quality. We expected that dissociative people would rank higher in the contest compared with low-dissociative participants, and that the most original photos would be taken on days when the participants scored highest on acute dissociation. We found that acute dissociation predicted a higher ranking on creativity. Poorer sleep quality and fewer hours of sleep predicted more bizarreness in the photos and captions. None of the trait measures could predict creativity. In sum, acute dissociation related to enhanced creativity. These findings contribute to our understanding of dissociative symptomatology.

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