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January 2018



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reject reality

Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Cognitive Disinhibition

I have felt for a long time that there is something intrinsically different about the way my brain works. I just don't think the same way normal people do. I was telling some friends recently that one of my communications problems is that I associate words with more ideas (and stranger ideas) than most people do. When people talk to me my mind goes to atypical meanings of words. I have Cognitive Disinhibition. I don't filter the information in my brain as much as other people. That would also explain why I get overwhelmed around people. Too much sensory information overwhelms me. Luckily I also have high IQ and high working-memory capacity so I am creative, not just crazy.

Cognitive Disinhibition also explains why I laugh so often. Humor is based on surprise, on unusual connections. My brain produces more unusual connection than other people's brains. I'm constantly surprised by my own thoughts.

I wonder what effect my anti-depression medication has on my creativity? I've been crocheting up a storm on this new higher dose. So I suppose it's not interfering.

I attended a wonderful workshop on religion and mental illness once. The speaker talked about the cultural dimensions of (what our culture calls) mental illness. Hearing voices and seeing spirits are valued in some cultures. I've never been very good at those things so I'm not very Schizotypal.

The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric
Highly creative people often seem weirder than the rest of us. Now researchers know why
By Shelley Carson, Scientific American, April 14, 2011
Schizotypal people, for instance, may dress in an idiosyncratic style; their speech patterns may be somewhat out of the ordinary; they may respond ineptly in social situations; their emotional responses may be inappropriate; they may believe in supernatural phenomena such as telepathy and omens; and they may be hard to get close to—both physically and emotionally. In short, schizotypal individuals are eccentric.

Not all schizotypal people have a personality disorder, however. They are often very high functioning, talented and intelligent.
Cognitive disinhibition is the failure to ignore information that is irrelevant to current goals or to survival.
There are individual differences in how much information we block out, however; both schizotypal and schizophrenic individuals have been shown to have reduced functioning of one of these cognitive filters, called latent inhibition (LI). Reduced LI appears to increase the amount of unfiltered stimuli reaching our conscious awareness and is associated with offbeat thoughts and hallucinations. It is easy to see that allowing unfiltered information into consciousness could lead to strange perceptual experiences, such as hearing voices or seeing imaginary people.

Cognitive disinhibition is also likely at the heart of what we think of as the aha! experience. During moments of insight, cognitive filters relax momentarily and allow ideas that are on the brain’s back burners to leap forward into conscious awareness, in the same manner that bizarre thoughts surface in the mind of the psychotic individual.
The ability to use cognitive disinhibition in a creative way depends on the presence of additional cognitive abilities associated with a high level of functioning.
Reduced cognitive filtering could explain the tendency of highly creative people to focus intensely on the content of their inner world at the expense of social or even self-care needs. (Beethoven, for example, had difficulty tending to his own cleanliness.) When conscious awareness is overpopulated with unusual and unfiltered stimuli, it is difficult not to focus attention on that inner universe.
Clearly, however, not all eccentric individuals are creative. Work from our lab indicates that other cognitive factors, such as high IQ and high working-memory capacity, enable some people to process and mentally manipulate extra information without being overwhelmed by it. Through a series of studies, we have, in fact, shown that a combination of lower cognitive inhibition and higher IQ is associated with higher scores on a variety of creativity measures.


Is now an appropriate time to make a "You've always seems uninhibited to me" comment?

I reject your diagnosis and substitute an appreciation of human diversity

Firmly believe future historians will look back on our time as the "Age of Diagnosis that Require Expensive Medications to do Not Much REally". I have always thought you were simply scrumptious the way the Goddess made you!