This Is Your Brain On Jazz: Researchers Use MRI To Study Spontaneity, Creativity

– Several of my friends are Jazz Aficionados.   Some jazz I enjoy but much of it is a mystery to me.   But, I see from this article that they are probably onto something.

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A pair of Johns Hopkins and government scientists have discovered that when jazz musicians improvise, their brains turn off areas linked to self-censoring and inhibition, and turn on those that let self-expression flow.

The joint research, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, and musician volunteers from the Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute, sheds light on the creative improvisation that artists and non-artists use in everyday life, the investigators say.

It appears, they conclude, that jazz musicians create their unique improvised riffs by turning off inhibition and turning up creativity.

The scientists from the University’s School of Medicine and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders describe their curiosity about the possible neurological underpinnings of  the almost trance-like state jazz artists enter during spontaneous improvisation.


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