Thursday, January 06, 2011

This is Your Brain on Improv

Here's a new TED Talk on what it looks like when [musical] improvisers play inside an MRI machine. Not only is the experiment itself interesting, what is has to say about spontaneous creativity fits with my own experience. Here's Musician and researcher Charles Limb:

It's a bit long, so here's my favorite part:
Really consciousness is seated in the frontal lobe. But we have this combination of an area that's thought to be involved in self-monitoring, turning off, and this area that's thought to be autobiographical, or self-expressive, turning on. And we think, at least in this preliminary -- It's one study. It's probably wrong. But it's one study. We think that at least a reasonable hypothesis is that, to be creative, you have to have this weird dissociation in your frontal lobe. One area turns on, and a big area shuts off, so that you're not inhibited, so that you're willing to make mistakes, so that you're not constantly shutting down all of these new generative impulses.


  1. Oh Wow. I love the TED talks.

    #LessonsLearned: As self-expression goes up, self-monitoring goes down.

    Seems like a natural conclusion; now we have the scientific brain scans to show the parts of the brain "shifting". Wowzers!



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