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New Gene Fights Potato Blight
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New Elephant-Shrew
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
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Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Earth's Lowly Rumble
Explorer of the Extreme Deep
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Ready, unplug, drive
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Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
If Only Bones Could Speak
A Plankhouse Past
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Whale Sharks
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Yummy bugs
The Color of Health
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GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
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GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Scholarship
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Losing with Heads or Tails
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Human Body
Music in the Brain
A Fix for Injured Knees
Heart Revival
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African Warthogs
Little Brown Bats
Cape Buffalo
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Children and Media
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One ring around them all
Dreams of Floating in Space
Powering Ball Lightning
Plants
Getting the dirt on carbon
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Bright Blooms That Glow
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Space and Astronomy
Icy Red Planet
Rover Makes Splash on Mars
Baby Star
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Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
Reach for the Sky
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
Pronouns
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Transportation
Where rivers run uphill
Revving Up Green Machines
Robots on the Road, Again
Weather
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Where rivers run uphill
Watering the Air
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Music in the Brain

Music inspires many people, including scientists. For instance, two researchers recently looked at the brains of jazz musicians. They were interested in what happened when musical performers spontaneously invent musical passages. Making up music is known as improvisation. It's quite different from performing the notes written on a page, which is what most non-jazz performers do. Six professional jazz pianists agreed to have their heads scanned by a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Bethesda, Md. The musicians laid inside a large, tube-shaped machine called a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) device. The machine records blood flow. So when someone inside of it does or thinks about something, scientists can see which parts of the brain are working hardest. Inside the fMRI device, the musicians propped a plastic piano keyboard on their laps. In one exercise, they played the notes of a scale in order. Then, they used the same notes to improvise a song. In another exercise, the musicians memorized a jazz composition and then played it while lying in the fMRI device. As they played, they listened to a recording of other instruments playing the accompanying parts. Then, the musicians improvised while listening to the same background music. Results from both exercises showed that the brain behaved in a particular way during improvisation. There was extra activity in a part of the brain that has been linked with the ability to tell a story about yourself. At the same time, there was less activity in the part of the brain that has been linked to planning and controlling behavior. Both parts are located near the front of the brain. "What we think is happening is that when you're telling your own musical story, you're shutting down [brain cell] impulses that might impede the flow of novel ideas," says Charles J. Limb, one of the researchers. He is a trained jazz saxophonist himself. Improvisation is an important skill in creative pursuits. So next, the researchers plan to look for similar activity in the brains of poets, painters, and other artists.—Emily Sohn

Music in the Brain
Music in the Brain








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