Articles by Clay Drinko

Clay Drinko, Ph.D.

ClayDrinko

Clay Drinko is an educator and the author of Theatrical Improvisation, Consciousness, and Cognition. He earned his Ph.D. in drama and theatre studies from Tufts University and a Master of Science in education and a Master of Arts in performance studies. Clay started improvising over two decades ago and experienced firsthand the powerful effects of finding flow onstage. Thus started a lifelong journey to understand how improv affects the brain and how to harness this understanding to improve our everyday lives.

Improvisation Leads to Increased Participation, Even Online

New study shows that improv helps students focus better and participate more.

I’ve talked to some of my former teaching colleagues, and let me just say that students and teachers are not alright. Students who used to show up to class are now considered “lost students,” and technology is adding communication barriers for those students who are still showing up online. That’s why I found this new study on improvisation and classroom participation so compelling.

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/202010/improvisation-leads-increased-participation-even-online

A Novel Finding: Improv and the Great Unknown

First study to show causal link between improvisation and uncertainty tolerance. Posted Feb 05, 2020

In this article, Clay describes studies by Peter Felsman, Sanuri Gunawardena, and Colleen M. Seifert that show a causal link between improvisation and uncertainty tolerance.

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/202002/novel-finding-improv-and-the-great-unknown

Stop Being So Stubborn and Stuck

Theatrical improvisation can be our model for staying open to new ideas. Posted Jan 06, 2020

In this article, Clay describes why he'd like to start the year meditating on how improvisation can, and hopes will, serve as a model for people to embrace uncertainty but also, more importantly, other people’s ideas and points of view.

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/202001/stop-being-so-stubborn-and-stuck

The Improv Anxiety Treatment?

Research shows theatrical improvisation helps people deal with uncertainty. Posted Dec 03, 2019

In this article, Clay describes why getting up on stage in front of an audience and performing without a script may sound like the opposite of anxiety treatment, but that new research is beginning to show that theatrical improvisation may actually help people cope with their anxiety disorders.

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/201912/the-improv-anxiety-treatment

Killing Creative Mortification

3 ways improvisation can teach us to foster creativity. Posted Nov 01, 2019

In this article, Clay discusses how creative suppression and creative mortification can stop us in our tracks and make us give up, either temporarily or permanently and how Improv offers us a model for avoiding creative suppression and mortification and for fostering creativity.

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/201911/killing-creative-mortification

How Improvisation Changes the Brain

Research sheds lights on optimal communication and creativity. Posted Oct 01, 2019

In this article, Clay discusses his path into the world of improv and looks at studies that demonstrate that improvisation actually changes the functioning of the brain.

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/201910/how-improvisation-changes-the-brain

New Study on Improvisation and Stress Reduction

Improv reduces pre-performance stress for student teachers.

In this article, Clay discusses the results of a study to measure how effective theatrical improvisation was at reducing student teachers' social stress—meaning how anxious they were before and after speaking in front of an audience.

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/202008/new-study-improvisation-and-stress-reduction

Improvisation Leads to Increased Participation, Even Online

New study shows that improv helps students focus better and participate more.

In this article, Clay discusses the "mounting evidence that improv can be so much more than just playing games and getting silly. It can help shy students speak up and anxious students calm down".

Link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-your-way-sane/202010/improvisation-leads-increased-participation-even-online