Aetiological aspects

It is of interest that Gardner's ethological analysis (10.9.) of what constitutes 'leadership' led to a description that overlaps with a hyperthymic profile: cheerfulness, joking, irrepressible infectious quality, unusual warmth, expansive, strong sense of confidence in one's abilities, scheming, robust, tireless, pushy, and meddlesome. Hypothetically, this temperament evolved in primates whose social life required leadership to better face challenges to the group from within and without.

In the only sleep electroencephalography study conducted to date, (!,°9 REM latency was found to be shortened; similar findings have been reported on the sleep of manic patients/!!0) thereby supporting the notion of a trait-state continuum at the neurophysiological level. (Although counterintuitive, this neurophysiological marker appears to be shared between the depressive and hyperthymic poles.) Finally, family history for frank bipolar disorder characterizes many such individuals. The foregoing data, albeit limited, suggest that hyperthymic traits share several key biological underpinnings of affective disorder.

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