Medical Mysteries of Music

The Spot in the Brain Where Musical Talent Live Has Been Discovered

It stands to reason–I guess–that there’s a certain portion of the brain where musical talent lives. Andrew points us to this article from

Musical talent has been located in the human brain, according to research led by a Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) team, and reported in Cerebral Cortex. Also discovered, the teams reported: a part of the brain that changes as people acquire musical skills—entirely apart from talent.

“In the past decades, the possibility of changing the adult brain through training and experience has raised a lot of interest, and musical training has proven an excellent model to study this,” lead author and German Center for Neurological Diseases neuroscientist Sibylle Herholz, Ph.D., told Bioscience Technology. “Only recently researchers have begun to study individual differences regarding predisposition for learning. In our study, we find evidence for both training-related plasticity, and predisposition for learning. And we were able to distinguish the corresponding neural correlates.”

In other words, she said, activity in some parts of the brain “changed after training compared to before, and activity before training in other parts of the brain predicted how fast people would learn. Thus, it’s not nature or nurture, but both, and different parts of the brain are more affected by one or the other.

Wow. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37439 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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