Music is a bodily function

I’ve often heard that sitting in one position for hours inhibits creativity and that you should periodically get up and move about, go outdoors, exercise or just pace around the room. As Paul Reisler says, ‘Music is a bodily function.’

Now there is a scientific explanation. In a recent Wall Street Journal, the headline read “Human Cognition May Rely On Body as Much as Brains.”

People think with their bodies, not just with their brains, according to some recent studies. The Boston Globe’s Drake Bennett reports on the emerging field of “embodied cognition,” which suggests that actions such as pacing the carpet or gesturing with one’s hands might clarify the thought process as much as anything going on in the brain. Researchers vary in how much emphasis they give to the body’s role in thinking. But by examining how actions shape thoughts, they aim to erase the presumed divide between mind and body that dates back at least to philosopher Rene Descartes in the 17th century.

There’s more to the article, but my fingers are getting tired from typing. I better give them a rest, because I have some heavy thinking to do later.

“Science: Human Cognition May Rely on Body as Much as Brains,” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, January 15, 2008), B12. Summary of an article in The Boston Globe of January 13.


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