From Medical Xpress:

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The workings of neural circuits associated with creativity are significantly altered when artists are actively attempting to express emotions, according to a new brain-scanning study of jazz pianists.

Over the past decade, a collection of neuroimaging studies has begun to identify components of a neural circuit that operates across various domains of creativity. But the new research suggests that creativity cannot be fully explained in terms of the activation or deactivation of a fixed network of regions. Rather, the researchers said, when creative acts engage brain areas involved in emotional expression, activity in these regions strongly influences which parts of the brain’s creativity network are activated, and to what extent.

“The bottom line is that emotion matters,” said senior author Charles Limb, MD. “It can’t just be a binary situation in which your brain is one way when you’re being creative and another way when you’re not. Instead, there are greater and lesser degrees of creative states, and different versions. And emotion plays a crucially important role in these differences.”

Most of the new research, which appears in the January 4, 2016 issue of Scientific Reports, was conducted in Limb’s laboratory at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine before his move to UC San Francisco in 2015. In his surgical practice, Limb, now the Francis A. Sooy Professor of Otolaryngology at UCSF and an accomplished jazz saxophonist, inserts cochlear implants to restore hearing.

Previous research by Limb and others using imaging (fMRI)…

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