The Brain on Art: Auditory, Visual, Spatial Aesthetic, and Artistic Training Facilitates Brain Plasticity (pp. 251-266)
Authors: Gerry Leisman
Abstract: Exposure to musical training in childhood has been studied extensively as models of neuroplasticity. The long-term training and continued practice of complex bi-manual motor sequences are highly associated with changes in brain structure and cortical motor maps compared with individuals without such training. We know that the anterior corpus callosum, with fibers connecting frontal motor regions and pre-frontal areas coordinating bimanual activity is larger in musicians who started training prior to age seven than in either controls. Additionally, auditory experiences during early postnatal development shape the functional neurology of auditory cortical representation resulting in increased functional areas of the auditory cortex. The developing brain is far more plastic than the adult brain explaining the results that we see in recovery of function after brain damage in childhood, neuronal connections are being continuously remodeled by experience, enrichment, and by performance on specific and complex movements during motor and cognitive learning. New skill acquisition, present to a much greater degree in childhood is highly associated with structural changes in the intracortical and subcortical networks in motor skill training. The relationship between music, visual, and spatial training on brain organization and plasticity are discussed with applications for solutions to the rehabilitation of the brain impaired.