Thursday, 15 November 2012
Today, more of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual than monolingual. In addition to facilitating cross-cultural communication, this trend also positively affects cognitive abilities. Researchers have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another. In addition, bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum: Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
On the spot, as great jazz performers expertly improvise solo passages, they make immediate decisions about which musical phrases to invent and to play. Researchers, like authors Mónica López-González and Dana Foundation grantee Charles J. Limb, are now using brain imaging to study the neural underpinnings of spontaneous artistic creativity, from jazz riffs to freestyle rap. So far, they have found that brain areas deactivated during improvisation are also at rest during dreaming and meditation, while activated areas include those controlling language and sensorimotor skills. Even with relatively few completed studies, researchers have concluded that musical creativity clearly cannot be tied to just one brain area or process.