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Dyslexia and Creativity

Anthony Hopkins in "Thor"

In their Dyslexic Advantage site post Dyslexic Actor, Anthony Hopkins – Thor Interview, Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide quote from a Biography Channel profile that Hopkins, due to his dyslexia, “preferred to paint and play the piano rather than making friends at school.”

Hopkins recalls: “I was lousy in school: a real screw-up, a moron. I was antisocial and didn’t bother with the other kids… I didn’t know what I was doing there. That’s why I became an actor.”

The Eides note Hopkins is distantly related to poet W.B. Yeats who also had dyslexia, and comment, “Hopkins’ work exemplifies dyslexic strengths with the music of language, social and nonverbal perception, seeing from multiple perspectives, and personal memory.”

Also see an interview video with Hopkins in their post, and their site library section.

The Eides are authors of the upcoming book The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain.

What is Dyslexia?

“Tom West suggests that left-hemisphere deficiencies, such as dyslexia, are fundamentally linked to right-hemisphere strengths, such as visual thinking, spatial ability, pattern recognition, problem solving, heightened intuition and creativity.”

That is a quote by Linda Kreger Silverman, from her book Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner – referring to West’s book: In the Mind’s Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and the Ironies of Creativity.

An APA (American Psychological Association) review of the book says, “In his thorough discussion of learning disabilities, West cites recent neurological research that shows an association between visual talents and verbal difficulties…”

In his book The Gift of Dyslexia, Ronald D. Davis notes, “Almost everyone considers it some form of a learning disability, but the learning disability is only one face of dyslexia.” He says there are basic abilities that all dyslexics share, such as being “highly aware of the environment…more curious than average…think mainly in pictures instead of words…have vivid imaginations.”

Henry Winkler on battling dyslexia: “School was this immovable object. I was told I wasn’t living up to my potential, that I was stupid. My parents were convinced I was merely lazy.” [Los Angeles Times Nov 25, 2005.]

“People with dyslexia are often dreamers, and good at abstract thought… When I’m writing an action scene, I can just see it happening.” Writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell [from CNN interview, 2001.]

Richard Branson

“I was trouble – and always in trouble. Aged eight I still couldn’t read. In fact, I was dyslexic and short-sighted. Perhaps my early problems with dyslexia made me more intuitive: when someone sends me a written proposal, rather than dwelling on detailed facts and figures I find that my imagination grasps and expands on what I read.”

Richard Branson in his book Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way.

Dyslexia and art students

The article The prevalence of Dyslexia among art students (by Ulrika Wolff) reports research “on the prevalence of dyslexia among university students—one group of art students and one group of students from non-art disciplines.

“Art academy students reported significantly more signs of dyslexia than non-art university students. Objective testing showed that art students had significantly poorer phonological skills than non-art students. Thus, according to self-reports combined with objective testing, the incidence of dyslexia was far higher among art students.”

Here is a link to an Online Dyslexia Screening Test For Adults (Endorsed By The British Dyslexia Institute; not simply a check-list; fee to take test).

Do you experience symptoms of Dyslexia, and are creative?

Dyslexia and Creativity

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2011). Dyslexia and Creativity. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 May 2011
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