The psychologist Bernice Eiduson thought that creative scientists as a group had a heightened sensitivity to experiences that, in her words, are —

“accompanied in thinking by over-alertness to relatively unimportant or tangential aspects of problems. It makes them look for and postulate significance in things which customarily would not be singled out. It encourages highly individualized and even autistic ways of thinking. Were this thinking not in the framework of scientific work, it would be considered paranoid. In scientific work, creative thinking demands seeing things not seen previously, or in ways not previously imagined; and this necessitates jumping off from “normal” positions, and taking risks by departing from reality. The difference between the thinking of the paranoid patient and the scientist comes in the latter’s ability and willingness to test out his fantasies or grandiose conceptualizations through the systems of checks and balances science has established…. One might say that scientific thinking is in a way institutionalized paranoid thinking; it sanctions it not only as proper, but also as the irrational that ultimately promotes the rationality of science.”

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