Your Favorite Comedian Might Have Psychotic Traits

Study says professional gag-smiths test highly for traits linked to psychotic disorders.

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Today in news that shouldn’t surprise anyone: the funniest, most entertaining people have different thought patterns than average people.

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that professional comedians tested highly for traits linked to psychotic disorders.

That doesn’t mean comedy clubs are full of serial killers. Although the terms “psychosis” and “psychotic” often conjure ideas of frothy-mouthed killers and deranged lunatics, this report uses these terms to describe much less violent behaviors.

Comedians scored highly on “introverted anhedonia and extraverted impulsiveness,”  the researchers noted. That means your favorite stand-up is likely to act spontaneously and avoid intimacy or pleasure.

Researchers tested 523 comedians from the U.S., U.K., and Australia, administering a questionnaire created at Oxford University to measure psychotic traits. Comedians scored higher than two control groups, one comprised of actors, the other people with non-creative jobs.

The study does not directly link comedic talent with mental illness, but examines how psychotic traits such as mania can influence a comic’s thinking.

“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’. Equally, ‘manic thinking’, which is common in people with bipolar disorder, may help people combine ideas to form new, original and humorous connections,” Gordon Claridge, the report’s author, told The Guardian.

Perhaps science can now explain the thought patterns that led to Grown Ups 2 being made into a major motion picture.