Nancy Andreasen: On Creative People

Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D.

Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa; Institute of Medicine member; Editor in Chief, The American Journal of Psychiatry; 2006 Vanderbilt Prize Winner for outstanding woman in biomedical research

As part of the Discovery Series Lectures, Andreasen speaks on life, literature, science, children, women and creativity. Although they may have moments of self-confidence coupled with self-doubt, she finds creative people as having a natural innocent and humility that drives them to push against themselves. They are not driven by a "prize". Most often, creative personalities are driven towards answering a question or creating something.

"They are driven," notes Andreasen "by a sense that they haven't gotten it quite right."

This sense of disquiet comes from a profound acknowledgment. "Most find that creativity is a gift. If you've got something that is a gift, you don't feel that it belongs to you. That's what keeps creative people humble."