Baudelaire was right: "Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recovered at will."
Although scientists have long held the lack of a functional prefrontal cortex responsible for all sorts of "childish" behaviors, researchers are beginning to realize that, sometimes, it might actually be better to allow the prefrontal cortex to loosen its grip.The immaturity of the baby brain comes with another advantage: utter absorption in the moment.
A recent brain scanning experiment by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that jazz musicians in the midst of improvisation - they were playing a specially designed keyboard in a brain scanner - showed dramatically reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex. It was only by "deactivating" this brain area that the musicians were able to spontaneously invent new melodies. The scientists compare this unwound state of mind with that of dreaming during REM sleep, meditation, and other creative pursuits, such as the composition of poetry. But it also resembles the thought process of a young child, albeit one with musical talent. Baudelaire was right: "Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recovered at will."
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Inside the baby mind: (Boston Globe)