Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Neural substrates of musical creativity

Limb, C.J. & Braun, A.R. (February 2008). Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: an fMRI study of jazz improvisation. Public Library of Science ONE, 3, 2, e1679.

This study imaged jazz musicians with fMRI during low and high complexity improvisational sessions to look for correlations in brain activation/deactivation patterns. They found widespread deactivation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), where goal-directed behaviors are thought to be consciously monitored, evaluated, and corrected. Deactivation was also observed in limbic structures. They also found consistent activation in sensorimotor areas, as expected, as well as focal activation in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), a currently poorly understood structure. An emerging view sees this region, Brodmann Area 10, as playing an important role in "the neural instantiation of the self, organizing internally motivated, self-generated, and stimulus-independent behaviors".

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