Nerdoscientist

Bringing the art of neuroscience and psychology to life.

Link: Neuroscience Lessons of Freestyle Rap

Link: Neuroscience Lessons of Freestyle Rap

What is creativity?

The topic has eluded scientists. How can you study something that is difficult to even define?

Luckily, Liu et al. had a creative solution…

Neural Correlates of Lyrical Improvisation: An fMRI Study of Freestyle Rap

 …the scientists picked freestyle rap as their “task,” a choice both cunning and clever. The entanglement of rap and neuroscience – however irrelevant to the study’s interesting results – strikes all the right chords for coverage in the tweet-sized attention span of modern news reporting. The next thing in tow, given the drift of things, is surely an MRI scan showing the brain activity of experts playing Fruit Ninja! One only hopes that in all the brouhaha about the hip-hop brain some relevant characteristics of this behavioral measure are not lost. Like free jazz improvisation, freestyle rap lends itself nicely to creative expression in the lab because it can be prompted – in this case by asking rappers to improvise rhymes and lyrical cadences to an 8-bar beat. What’s more, it can easily be contrasted with an appropriate control condition – a set of lyrics already committed to memory and performed to the same beat. The spontaneous generation of freestyle performance, a common genre of artistic expression, taps into aflow state and for this special state of consciousness we do seem to understand some of the underlying neurocognitive mechanism.

And they found something!

According to the SciAm article:

The key finding is the dissociation of two prefrontal areas during spontaneous composition of artistic content. The medial prefrontal cortex showed increased activity, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – DLPFC for short – showed decreased activity. While the former has been in the news lately for its association with various aspects of social cognition – self-perception, self-knowledge, moral decisions, etc. – the DLPFC has long been known to mediate the so-called higher mental functions: executive attention, working memory, willed action and cognitive control.

Pretty cool and looks like a great use of fMRI with a strong control.  Awesome and exciting news.

2 comments on “Link: Neuroscience Lessons of Freestyle Rap

  1. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog in
    the near future but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking
    for something unique. P.S My apologies for getting off-topic
    but I had to ask!

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