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Dana Foundation releases arts and cognition research
Date:3/4/2008

Washington, DC, March 4, 2008 Learning, Arts, and the Brain, a study three years in the making, is the result of research by cognitive neuroscientists from seven leading universities in the United States. In the Dana Consortium study, released today at a news conference at the Dana Foundations Washington, DC headquarters, researchers grappled with a fundamental question: Are smart people drawn to the arts or does arts training make people smarter"

For the first time, coordinated, multi-university scientific research brings us closer to answering that question. Learning, Arts, and the Brain advances our understanding of the effects of music, dance, and drama education on other types of learning. Children motivated in the arts develop attention skills and strategies for memory retrieval that also apply to other subject areas.

The research was led by Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga of the University of California at Santa Barbara. A life-affirming dimension is opening up in neuroscience, said Dr. Gazzaniga, to discover how the performance and appreciation of the arts enlarge cognitive capacities will be a long step forward in learning how better to learn and more enjoyably and productively to live. The consortiums new findings and conceptual advances have clarified what now needs to be done.

Participating researchers, using brain imaging studies and behavioral assessment, identified eight key points relevant to the interests of parents, students, educators, neuroscientists, and policy makers.

  1. An interest in a performing art leads to a high state of motivation that produces the sustained attention necessary to improve performance and the training of attention that leads to improvement in other domains of cognition.

  2. Genetic studies have begun to yield candidate genes that may help explain individual differences in interest in the arts.

  3. Specific links exist between high levels of music tr
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Contact: Barbara Rich
brich@dana.org
212-223-4040
DANA Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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