Comedians have psychotic traits study finds

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Comedians have an interesting way of thinking outside of the box.

According to a new study from the University of Oxford, successful comedians have some characteristics of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia where people have trouble perceiving reality correctly.

The university researchers surveyed more than 500 comedians in a personality test and found their answers were very similar to responses given by people with mental health problems. Four exceptionally high areas were: having trouble focusing thoughts, belief in strange experiences such as paranormal activity, trouble finding pleasure in social settings, and impulsive behavior.

How do these traits make them a source for a great laugh? The researchers say comedians are naturally shy, and their funny-ness makes them feel more comfortable in social settings. “It’s a kind of self-medication,” explains Professor Gordon Claridge, of the University of Oxford. Also, being slightly withdrawn allows them to combine seemingly unrelated ideas in new ways.

Featured image courtesy of Pete on Flickr. Image of leaf heads courtesy of Life Mental Health Flickr