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We’ve written about how we think in pictures. Here’s an example from the worlds of art and science.

What's on your mind?

Ima just put this here and wait 500 years…

In 1990, Dr Frank Meshberger went home after a long day’s work and decided to flip through some art books to help him unwind. When he got to an image of the Sistine Chapel, he stopped in his tracks. There in front of him was what he’d been looking at all day: a dissection of a human brain.

Now, I’d always wondered why the billowing fabric behind God looked so bizarre. Not to mention the contorted bodies of the angels around Him. (The one with his butt turned toward us? What’s that about?)

But when you compare them with a cross-section of a human brain, it all makes sense.

Incredibly, The Creation of Adam has been viewed by millions of people for half a millennium. Yet it took a doctor who’d been looking at brain scans all day to connect the image with the artist’s hidden message.

The painting has always been interpreted as God bestowing life on man. But Dr Meshberger points out that Adam’s eyes are already open, suggesting he’s already alive. Perhaps what Michelangelo was suggesting is that God was bestowing intellect – the thing that separates mankind from all other creatures.

So what does all this have to do with improv? Well, when you’re in a relaxed state, you make connections that you wouldn’t otherwise. You literally see things differently. Something to think about – or not, rather – the next time you’re on stage.

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