Background It has been suggested that psychosis genes might be associated with beneficial effects, explaining their high frequency in all human populations.
Aims To test the relationship between academic success and the incidence of psychotic disorders.
Method The unusually complete demographic and scholastic records available in Iceland were used to locate academically accomplished individuals and assess the probability of previously identified patients with mental disorders and their relatives being among such groups.
Results Close relatives of successful students showed increased risks of psychosis. Individuals who subsequently developed psychosis and relatives of people with psychosis excelled in school performance, particularly in mathematics.
Conclusions The study supports the hypothesis that stimulation associated with psychotic tendencies enhances performance in academic settings.
- © 2004 Royal College of Psychiatrists