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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

Everyone improvises from the moment life begins, but few know what exactly happens when you improvise. Neuroscience shows the biological basis, and thus, the universality and practical application of improvisation. This recent research on the subject of improv shows why—for centuries—humans have been drawn to improv. The paper begins by offering historical antecedents to contemporary improvisation; then, moves on to discuss the rich history of American improvisation and the move towards integrating spontaneity into improvisational performances. Through close analysis of what makes something spontaneous, the effects of spontaneity on individuals have shown the “naturalness” of improv and its inherent presence inside us all. The discussion then branches out to bring in the recent findings of scientists about what is actually goes on in the brain when people are improvising. Finally, the universality of improv is shown through its natural—and organic—transition into the business and education world. Improv is inherent and natural, so we should say “yes” to improv and its positive effects.

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