RE: [Meditation Society of America] When Creativity Arises The Inner Chatterer Shuts Off
- Since the ball, the act of hitting and the hitter are all one and the same !
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 11:25:05 +0000
Subject: Re: [Meditation Society of America] When Creativity Arises The Inner Chatterer Shuts Off...or as Yogi Berra said,
"You can't think and hit
the ball at the same time."
--- In meditationsocietyof america@yahoogro ups.com, Bruce Morgen
> ...or as a wise old jazzman
> told me nearly forty years ago,
> "You'll know you're a player
> when you've stopped watching
> yourself try to play!"
> medit8ionsociety wrote:
> > In this article from Medical New Today,
> > I think what has been found is what meditators
> > find when they concentrate. ..IE: that when the
> > "Inner Chatterer" that compares, judges, and
> > comments on virtually everything stops
> > its chatter, creative wisdom and beauty flows.
> > Enjoy (in spite of the scientific jargon)!
> > Main Category: Neurology / Neuroscience
> > Article Date: 27 Feb 2008 - 4:00 PST
> > Large Portion Of Brain's Prefrontal Region
> > 'Takes 5' To Let Creativity Flow In Jazz
> > Improvisation
> > When John Coltrane was expanding the boundaries
> > of the well-known song "My Favorite Things" at
> > the Village Vanguard in May 1966, no one could
> > have known what inspired him to take the musical
> > turns he took. But imaging researchers may now
> > have a better picture of how the brain was helping
> > to carry him there. Scientists funded by the
> > National Institute on Deafness and Other
> > Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have found that,
> > when jazz musicians are engaged in the highly
> > creative and spontaneous activity known as
> > improvisation, a large region of the brain involved
> > in monitoring one's performance is shut down, while
> > a small region involved in organizing self-initiated
> > thoughts and behaviors is highly activated. The
> > researchers propose that this and several related
> > patterns are likely to be key indicators of a brain
> > that is engaged in highly creative thought. NIDCD is
> > one of the National Institutes of Health. The study
> > is published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal
> > Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.
> > During the study, six highly trained jazz musicians
> > played the keyboard under two scenarios while in the
> > functional MRI scanner. Functional MRI (fMRI) is an
> > imaging tool that measures the amount of blood
> > traveling to various regions of the brain as a means
> > of assessing the amount of neural activity in those
> > areas.
> > "The ability to study how the brain functions when
> > it is thinking creatively has been difficult for
> > scientists because of the many variables involved,"
> > said James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director
> > of the NIDCD. "Through some creative thinking of
> > their own, these researchers designed a protocol
> > in which jazz musicians could play a keyboard while
> > in the confines of a functional MRI scanner. And in
> > doing so, they were able to pinpoint differences in
> > how the brain functions when the musicians are
> > improvising as opposed to playing a simple melody
> > from memory."
> > The study was conducted by researchers of NIDCD's
> > Division of Intramural Research. Authors on the study
> > are Charles J. Limb, M.D., who was then a research
> > fellow with NIDCD, and Allen R. Braun, M.D., chief
> > of the division's Language Section. Dr. Limb is
> > now an otolaryngologist at the Johns Hopkins University
> > School of Medicine and faculty member at the university's
> > Peabody Conservatory of Music.
> > The first scenario, called the Scale paradigm,
> > was based on a simple C major scale. Using only
> > their right hand, the volunteers first played
> > the scale up and down in quarter notes, an activity
> > they, as accomplished musicians, had performed many
> > times before. Next, they were asked to improvise,
> > though they were limited to playing quarter notes
> > within the C major scale. "Although the musicians
> > were indeed improvising, it was a relatively low-level
> > form of improvisation, musically speaking," said Limb.
> > The second scenario, called the Jazz paradigm,
> > addressed higher level musical improvisation.
> > This paradigm was based on a novel blues melody
> > written by Limb that the volunteers had memorized
> > beforehand. Again, using only their right hand,
> > the musicians would play the tune exactly as they
> > had memorized it, only this time accompanied through
> > headphones by a pre-recorded jazz quartet. When they
> > were asked to improvise, the musicians listened to
> > the same audio background, but they were free to
> > spontaneously play whatever notes they wished.
> > All of this was accomplished while the musicians
> > lay on their backs with their heads and torsos
> > inside an fMRI scanner and their knees bent upward.
> > The plastic keyboard, which was shortened to fit
> > inside the scanner and which had its magnetic parts
> > removed for safety, rested on the musicians' knees.
> > A mirror placed over the volunteers' eyes, together
> > with the headphones, helped the musicians see and
> > hear what they were playing. The resulting fMRI scans
> > recorded the amount of change in neural activity -
> > increases and decreases - between the improvised
> > and memorized versions.
> > Turning Off 'The Monitor'
> > One notable finding was that the brain scans were
> > nearly identical for the low-level and high-level
> > forms of improvisation, thus supporting the
> > researchers' hypothesis that the change in neural
> > activity was due to creativity and not the complexity
> > of the task. If the latter were the case, there would
> > have been a more noticeable difference between the
> > Scale and Jazz paradigms, since the Jazz paradigm was
> > significantly more complex.
> > Moreover, the researchers found that much of
> > the change between improvisation and memorization
> > occurred in the prefrontal cortex, the region of
> > the frontal lobe of the brain that helps us think
> > and problem-solve and that provides a sense of self.
> > Interestingly, the large portion responsible for
> > monitoring one's performance (dorsolateral prefrontal
> > cortex) shuts down completely during improvisation,
> > while the much smaller, centrally located region at
> > the foremost part of the brain (medial prefrontal
> > cortex) increases in activity. The medial prefrontal
> > cortex is involved in self-initiated thoughts and
> > behaviors, and is very active when a person describes
> > an event that has happened to him or makes up a story.
> > The researchers explain that, just as over-thinking
> > a jump shot can cause a basketball player to fall out
> > of the zone and perform poorly, the suppression of
> > inhibitory, self-monitoring brain mechanisms helps
> > to promote the free flow of novel ideas and impulses.
> > While this brain pattern is unusual, it resembles the
> > pattern seen in people when they are dreaming.
> > Another unusual finding was that there was increased
> > neural activity in each of the sensory areas
> > during improvisation, including those responsible
> > for touch, hearing and vision, despite the fact that
> > there were no significant differences in what
> > individuals were hearing, touching and seeing during
> > both memorized and improvised conditions. "It's
> > almost as if the brain ramps up its sensorimotor
> > processing in order to be in a creative state," said
> > Limb. The systems that regulate emotion were also
> > engaged during improvisation.
> > "One important thing we can conclude from this study
> > is that there is no single creative area of the brain -
> > no focal activation of a single area," said Braun.
> > "Rather, when you move from either of the control
> > tasks to improvisation, you see a strong and
> > consistent pattern of activity throughout the brain
> > that enables creativity."
> > ------------ --------- -------
> > Article adapted by Medical News Today from
> > original press release.
> > ------------ --------- -------
> > NIDCD supports and conducts research and research
> > training on the normal and disordered processes
> > of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech a
> > nd language and provides health information, based
> > upon scientific discovery, to the public. For more
> > information about NIDCD programs, see the Web site at
> > http://www.nidcd. nih.gov/.
> > The National Institutes of Health (NIH) -
> > The Nation's Medical Research Agency - includes
> > 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
> > the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.
> > It is the primary federal agency for conducting
> > and supporting basic, clinical, and translational
> > medical research, and it investigates the causes,
> > treatments, and cures for both common and rare
> > diseases. For more information about NIH and its
> > programs, visit http://www.nih. gov/.
> > Source: Jennifer Wenger
> > IH/National Institute on Deafness and Other
> > Communication Disorders
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