Comedians Have Some Strange Traits
When the two groups were compared, authors found that, compared with normal people, comedians had the following characteristics:
- They found it unusually difficult to feel physical and social pleasure–psychologists call this anhedonia.
- They were antisocial and nonconformist.
- They were prone to magical thinking, like believing in telepathy or paranormal phenomena.
- They were easily distracted and found it difficult to focus.
One of the study’s authors, Gordon Claridge, explained:
“The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis–both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor, in its lesser form it can increase people’s ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think ‘outside the box’.”