Brain and Creativity Institute


Can you hear me now? Good!

Can you hear me now? Good!

Yesterday I got to tour the Brain and Creativity Institute which is a research program that is part of the USC campus. I’ve been dying to find out more about it ever since I discovered that it existed. I am fascinated by the brain and how it works. When it comes to creativity, artists and storytellers have been finding ways to reprogram the brain for centuries, but we are just now starting to see how it works and why thanks to fMRI technology and so on. Being an artist and a storyteller and not a neuroscience post-doc candidate means that I’ve never seen an fMRI machine in real life, much less ever been able to really see what it can do. I know, in the broadest sense, how my mind works, but I’ve never had the chance to look under the hood.

Finding out that I was studying at the same campus as a research institute studying the brain and creativity was like sitting in a coffee shop and realizing that the person at the next table over is Leonardo Da Vinci. WHUT?! So much I want to learn from this person!

The institute was pretty quiet during our tour: apparently there was a huge neuroscience conference down in San Diego over the weekend and everybody is still straggling back from that, but there was still enough going on that it was like being a big nerdy kid touring a big nerdy FAO Schwartz. (Did I just date myself? I bet I did).

Along with the obvious things like a fMRI room (in use when we visited so we could only see the dimmest of outlines through the window) and the EKG lab the Brain and Creativity Institute also features an AMAZING auditorium. I’ve been in my fair share of theatres in my life and even I was astonished at how acoustically marvelous it was. The stage is sunken below the seats- everything is accessed by descending a staircase from the entrance level- and the moment that the guide stepped foot on it he sounded like he had a mic on. The stage itself is built on a hollow box to allow sounds to reverberate through the space and overhead are a series of heavy velvet curtains that can be moved around to “tune” the room according to what kind of performance will be taking place there.

So I was impressed. Now all I need is an excuse to go back.

 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on November 14, 2013.

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