Heightened ambition seems to be an important aspect of increased creativity in people with bipolar disorder, according to results of two studies by Sheri L. Johnson, Ph.D. , and her associates.

In Study One, 22 bipolar patients who identified as highly creative took the WASSUP (Willingly Approached Set of Statistically Unlikely Pursuits) test, an assessment to determine ambition. WASSUP scores were elevated in the group, and a higher score was related to lifetime creative accomplishment in artistic bipolar patients.

In Study Two, 221 undergraduates completed the WASSUP, the Hypomanic Personality Scale (to measure mania risk), and a measure to assess creativity in business projects. Both increased ambition and creativity were linked to increased mania risk, and ambition was related to creativity outside of a bipolar setting as well.

Find the study in the Journal of Affective Disorders (doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.02.021).