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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported November 19, 2012

“Rap” Your Brain Around This!


(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Creating lyrics or rhymes on the spot is an impressive skill and you might wonder what goes on in the brain during these artistic improvisations. Well, thanks to new research on what the brain looks like during freestyle rap we have a clearer idea. 
Twelve freestyle rappers with at least five years’ experience rapping performed two tasks: one where they improvised rhyming lyrics and rhyming patterns using just the beat and the other where they sang pre-rehearsed lyrics. During both tasks researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders scanned the brains of the twelve participants. 
The rappers’ scans showed increased brain activity in the part of the brain responsible for motivation of thought and action, the medial prefrontal cortex, during the freestyle task. Activity also increased in the perisylvian system, which is involved in language production, and the amygdala, a part of the brain related to emotion, when the rappers were free-styling. 
On the other hand, brain activity decreased in the areas of the brain that typically plays a monitoring role, called the dorsolateral prefrontal regions. 
The various levels of activity in different sections of the brain suggest that when someone is improvising lyrics or rhythms they are linking within the network of the brain motivation, mood, action, and language. 
This offers great insight into how our brains work during creative processes and even further research could be done to see if the brain acts similarly with improvised poetry or storytelling. 
Source: Scientific Reports, November, 2012
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