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tDCS Improves Amateur Jazz Pianists

By Mike November 11, 2016 No comments

tl;dr tDCS for 15mins@1.5mA anode F4 improves amateur musicians jazz improvisation skills.

"Anodal tDCS to right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex facilitates performance for novice jazz improvisers but hinders experts"


Research on creative cognition reveals a fundamental disagreement about the nature of creative thought, specifically, whether it is primarily based on automatic, associative (Type-1) or executive, controlled (Type-2) processes. We hypothesized that Type-1 and Type-2 processes make differential contributions to creative production that depend on domain expertise. We tested this hypothesis with jazz pianists whose expertise was indexed by the number of public performances given. Previous fMRI studies of musical improvisation have reported that domain expertise is characterized by deactivation of the right-dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (r-DLPFC), a brain area associated with Type-2 executive processing. We used anodal, cathodal, and sham transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) applied over r-DLPFC with the reference electrode on the contralateral mastoid (1.5mA for 15 min., except for sham) to modulate the quality of the pianists’ performances while they improvised over chords with drum and bass accompaniment. Jazz experts rated each improvisation for creativity, aesthetic appeal, and technical proficiency. There was no main effect of anodal or cathodal stimulation on ratings compared to sham; however, a significant interaction between anodal tDCS and expertise emerged such that stimulation benefitted musicians with less experience but hindered those with more experience. We interpret these results as evidence for a dual-process model of creativity in which novices and experts differentially engage Type-1 and Type-2 processes during creative production.

This study had 17 participants. Their musical professionalism was graded on number of public performances.

They were given either cathodal, anodal or sham stimulation over three 1 hour sessions and were randomly assigned groups.

The electrodes were place at C3 and opposite mastoid. This is equivalent to X on the front yellow on Go Flow Sports cap and Y on left arm.

Using Go Flow tDCS for Musical Ability

They improvised on the piano during and after the stimulation, but only the post stimulation performance was graded.

Interestingly they were also given two additional creativity tests but the results of these have not been released yet - stay tuned for those ;)

The recordings from all the participants were normalised and then anonymously graded.

And the winners were - the amateurs that had the anodal stimulation!

This supports the authors theory about the nature of creative thought.

So if you want to enhance your creativity buy Go Flow Sports today.