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In this Charles Limb keynote the speaker takes a scientific approach towards discussing what constitutes creative genius. The hearing specialist and surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital argues that artistic creativity is a neurological process and thus may be studied like any other brain activity.
Using a functional MRI (fMRI) Limb’s experiment involves taking pictures of the active parts of a person’s brain while they are engaged in a creative activity. After developing a unique piano keyboard, the research team had musicians undergo an MRI scan while playing memorized music on the keyboard. Then the musicians were asked to play an improvised tune, playing off of each others riff. The images on the fMRI showed that certain areas of the brain received more blood flow when engaged in spontaneous, creative projects.
While still fairly unexplored, Charles Limb is hopeful that within the next few decades many discoveries will be made regarding the connection between neurological activity and artistic talent.