This Is Your Brain on Improv

By Liv Ryan


We toss around the word "improv" a lot, but what does it really mean, and how can it help you? We’ve compiled a collection of articles that further explain what it is we do, and why it’s such a valuable tool to stimulate creativity and cooperation.

What Improv Teaches Us About Creativity - Big Think

This article focuses on a lot of the science behind creativity and improvisation, specifically the relationship between our conscious and unconscious mind. By improvising, you are more likely to come up with creative solutions to problems, because of your reliance on the unconscious side of the brain.

Getting to 'Yes, And' - Slate

Improv is being used at business school orientations and at company retreats around the country. Creativity in business is being enhanced by the acceptance of the philosophy of “yes, and,” otherwise understood as accepting your partner’s statement as truth and adding to it, rather than rejecting it outright. By working with companies both large and small, improvisers are influencing the way business, specifically PR and marketing, is done.

Chicago Improv - Saturday Night Live

This is a parody of the Chicago improv scene -- which also manages to get at a lot of the core ideas of improv, such as object work, audience participation, and, of course, “yes, and”-ing.

Art in an Instant: The Secrets of Improvisation - The Washington Post

This article looks at various forms of improvisation, including comedy and music. The idea of “yes, and”-ing allows for creativity to flow and for improvisers to venture into untrodden territory.

How to Do Improv Comedy - wikiHow

And, of course, here’s how to do improv comedy in 13 easy steps! Thankfully, the first step is to go to an improv class. If wikiHow got ahold of all of our secrets, we’d be out of jobs.

Liv Ryan is a comedian and an intern at Upright Citizens Brigade. She currently attends Wesleyan University.