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Showing posts from October, 2015

Applied Improvisation & Emotional Intelligence Workshop Hand-Out: Understanding The "State of Play"

In his article "Your Brain On Improv: Hacking Creativity" Dave Asprey of BulletProofExec.com writes about the remarkable research done by Dr. Charles Lamb (click here for his TED talk "Your Brain On Improv") into what happens in the brain when musicians improvise, and how that information transfers to other improvisation and creative activity. "During improvisation, the self-monitoring part of the brain (lateral prefrontal for you brain hardware hackers out there) is deactivated, while the self-expression part of the brain got activated (medial prefrontal). Literally, that means that to be creative you have to stop picking on yourself while boosting your self-expression abilities."
   When we are able to reduce activity in the self-monitoring part of the brain we are more free to experiment and take risks, to respond creatively to unpredictable and unknowable interactions with others. Improvisation warm-ups games and exercises are designed to reduce the s…

Improvisers Are Awesome, Make The Most Out Of What Is and other take-aways from the 2015 Applied Improvisation Network Annual Conference

The 2015 Applied Improvisation Network Annual Conference 
started in the beautiful city of Montreal, then moved north to the mountains of Quebec. Here are some take-aways from this week of constant contact with creative people and Canadian culture:

1. In the mountans of Quebec, there is no wi-fi and very, very spotty cell service. Untethered to technology, one becomes aware of its power. A week without it felt similar to when I quit smoking, except technology connects me to a world beyond myself, and smoking connected me to a host of avoidable diseases. With neither wi-fi nor cell service, I was aware of a part of my brain that kept searching for them, until that craving was replaced by an indescribable openness to experience and a release from the need to know what would happen next.

2. When walking in Montreal with no agenda about what to do next and a determination to enjoy the present moment, sometimes you discover something special to think about (Rodin show at Montreal Museum of A…

Fun Facts About Comedy In Educational Settings: Studies Discussed in Episode 2 of (mostly) TRUE THINGS podcast

Episode 2 of the (mostly) TRUE THINGS podcast featured an interview and story by the hilarious and always-interesting comic Stevie GB, who took this "3 studies" quiz about research into the role of laughter in learning very, very seriously. He analyzed each one in a very thoughtful, as well as entertaining, way. Maybe its just fun to listen to him talk and to his mental process. You can hear the podcast by clicking on the link above, and then check out this interesting research about the very serious way that humor boosts learning, reduces anxiety and stress in the classroom, and encourages students to take initiative in their education.

One study pointing to humor's benefits appeared in College Teaching (Vo. 54, No. 1, pages 177-180).  This research showed that students were more likely to remember information shared in a statistics lecture when it was laced with relevant comedy. ""Well-planned, appropriate, contextual humor can help students ingrain informatio…