Creative Thinking, Professional Artists, and Parkinson's Disease

Margherita Canesi, Maria Luisa Rusconi, Federica Moroni, Alessandra Ranghetti, Emanuele Cereda, Gianni Pezzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: An increase in artistic-like production in Parkinson's disease (PD) has been associated with compulsive and repetitive behaviours after the introduction of dopaminergic treatment (DT). Recent data suggest that it could be due to the emergence of artistic-like skills triggered by DT. Objective: In order to evaluate whether artistic production and creative thinking are influenced by DT or linked to artistic-like skills, we characterize creativity features in PD and healthy controls (HC) including professional artists. Methods: Three groups of PD out-patients were included consecutively: professional artists (PD-A), patients with (PD-C) and without artistic-like production (PD-NC). Twenty-four gender and age-matched HC were included: professional artists (HC-A) and non-artists (HC-NC). All patients were evaluated by means of a) a battery of neuropsychological tests and a semi-structured interview; b) the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA) for creative thinking; c) the Minnesota Impulsive Disorders Interview (mMIDI) and a screening for impulse control disorders (ICDs) for compulsive behaviour. Results: ATTA total score was significantly higher in HC-A and PD-A than in the other groups. Although PD-NC showed the lowest ATTA total score the difference vs HC-NC was not significant. ATTA scores were not significantly correlated with DT dosage and duration. mMIDI tests were positive only in PD. There were no differences in ICDs among PD groups. Conclusions: Our results do not support a relationship between DT and the emergence of artistic creativity. We believe that DT may increase the drive to create and that further studies in "on" and "off" medication are needed to clarify this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-246
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 30 2016


  • Creativity
  • dopaminergic therapy
  • impulse control disorders
  • Parkinson phenotype
  • professional artists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Creative Thinking, Professional Artists, and Parkinson's Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this