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This is your brain on improv

May 29, 2018

The World in Words May 24, 2018 · 4:30 PM EDT By Patrick Cox

A performance from the Netherlands-based comedy improv group Easy Laughs.


Does the brain of a comedy improv actor or freestyle rapper work in a particular way? Is it measurably different? Is it processing language (or sound) faster than a regular, lower-improvising brain?


Or is something else also going on— something to do with how we judge ourselves? 


We at The World in Words podcast have wondered about all this for some time. Not because we possess lightning-fast improv skills (if only...) — but because it's such a mystery.

We asked our pal Ari Daniel from our partner program NOVA to look into this. As it happens, he found a group of researchers and a group of professional improvisers working together on some of these questions.

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