The neuroscience of ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ jazz improvisation

The neuroscience of creativity is a topic brimming with impenetrable unknowns. A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports peels back another layer, revealing further mysteries.No single area of the brain accounts for musical creativity. It is brain-wide enterprise. It is a given that music has a profound, yet variable, impact on the human brain. On the one hand, there is the joy or sorrow (or sometimes revulsion) that a melody generates within the listener. This complex emotional shading experienced by the audience is overlaid with the creative aspects of the human brain responsible for writing and performing the piece. The present study, carried out by Malinda McPherson and her team at the University of California-San Francisco, took brain scans of jazz musicians as they improvised “happy” or “sad”…


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