Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

To boost creativity, combine systematic daily effort with diverse emotional states

jazz_creativityMap­ping Cre­ativ­i­ty in the Brain (The Atlantic):

The writer Edith Whar­ton, a self-pro­fessed “slow work­er,” dis­missed the idea of easy cre­ative tri­umph. “Many peo­ple assume that the artist receives, at the out­set of his career, the mys­te­ri­ous sealed orders known as ‘Inspi­ra­tion,’ and has only to let that sov­er­eign impulse car­ry him where it will,” she wrote in her 1925 book The Writ­ing of Fic­tion. The artis­tic impulse, she con­tin­ued, was instead achieved through “sys­tem­at­ic dai­ly effort.”

But while she cham­pi­oned dili­gence, Whar­ton was also dri­ven by some­thing she found more dif­fi­cult to describe…Earlier this year, Limb co-authored a new study led by Malin­da McPher­son, a doc­tor­al can­di­date at the Har­vard-MIT Pro­gram in Speech and Hear­ing Bio­science and Tech­nol­o­gy, to address that miss­ing ele­ment. The study also asked jazz pianists to impro­vise in an fMRI scan­ner; this time, though, the musi­cians were instruct­ed to first review pho­tographs of a woman wear­ing a pos­i­tive, neg­a­tive, or neu­tral expres­sion, and then to try to match the photo’s mood with their impro­vised melodies.

Broad­ly, McPherson’s find­ings sup­port Dietrich’s argu­ment that cre­ativ­i­ty doesn’t stem from one eas­i­ly defin­able process or brain pat­tern. The results also indi­cate that “emo­tion has a huge effect on the way our brains can be cre­ative,” McPher­son says. Pos­i­tive emo­tion, for instance, seems to be relat­ed to a deep­er state of cre­ative flow. Her find­ings also seem to indi­cate that unhap­py artis­tic expres­sion requires more con­scious restraint than hap­py music—but may also be, on some lev­el, more reward­ing.”

Study: Emo­tion­al Intent Mod­u­lates The Neur­al Sub­strates Of Cre­ativ­i­ty: An fMRI Study of Emo­tion­al­ly Tar­get­ed Impro­vi­sa­tion in Jazz Musi­cians (Nature)

  • Abstract: Emo­tion is a pri­ma­ry moti­va­tor for cre­ative behav­iors, yet the inter­ac­tion between the neur­al sys­tems involved in cre­ativ­i­ty and those involved in emo­tion has not been stud­ied. In the cur­rent study, we addressed this gap by using fMRI to exam­ine piano impro­vi­sa­tion in response to emo­tion­al cues. We showed twelve pro­fes­sion­al jazz pianists pho­tographs of an actress rep­re­sent­ing a pos­i­tive, neg­a­tive or ambigu­ous emo­tion. Using a non-fer­ro­mag­net­ic thir­ty-five key key­board, the pianists impro­vised music that they felt rep­re­sent­ed the emo­tion expressed in the pho­tographs. Here we show that activ­i­ty in pre­frontal and oth­er brain net­works involved in cre­ativ­i­ty is high­ly mod­u­lat­ed by emo­tion­al con­text. Fur­ther­more, emo­tion­al intent direct­ly mod­u­lat­ed func­tion­al con­nec­tiv­i­ty of lim­bic and par­al­im­bic areas such as the amyg­dala and insu­la. These find­ings sug­gest that emo­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty are tight­ly linked, and that the neur­al mech­a­nisms under­ly­ing cre­ativ­i­ty may depend on emo­tion­al state.

To learn more:

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)