Most artists work for exceptionally low pay. Despite the precarious nature of the art economy, they carry on, ostensibly sacrificing monetary compensation for the loftier reward of creative freedom. But what if some artists are actually—physiologically—hardwired not to care about money?
That’s the implication of a new study published in the Creativity Research Journal, led by Dr. Roberto Goya-Maldonado, who is head of the systems neuroscience and imaging in psychiatry lab at the University Medical Centerin Göttingen, Germany. The research team watched for activity in the parts of the brain that produce dopamine—the chemical that delivers rushes of excitement often associated with sex, drugs, and gambling—when groups of both artists and non-artists were presented with offers of free cash.
I knew it wasn’t my fault I’m poor!