When Actors Are in Character, Their Brain Activity Is Different

We all wanted to be actors when we were young. It is true art, actually. However, scientists can’t really figure out what happens in the head of an actor. Researchers are not showing different patterns of brain activity, and it all depends if they’re in character, or not.

The first author of the study has said that when you’re acting, you are forgetting about the real you – it’s like the character possesses you.

What was the study about?

They wrote about this in the journal called the Royal Society Open Science. They said that 15 method actors, theatre students, were training to star in a Shakespearean role, Romeo or Juliet, for a theater workshop. They were asked some questions, and they were supposed to respond in character. Then, they were asked to go into the laboratory, where their brains were scanned.

How did the study take place?

Inside the MRI scanner, the actors were asked to think about their response to some questions that appeared on a screen. The questions were in style of would they tell your parents that you had fallen in love? These questions were based on four different premises. One was to answer from their own perspective. Another one was to say how a close friend of them would react, and the third one was to answer as if they were Romeo or Juliet.

The other premise showed the actors who had all Canadian accents, and how they answered from their own point of view, but in an English accent.

What’s the conclusion of the study?

The study showed that the brain activity is different, depending on the scenario they were asked to follow.

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Meagan Kozlovs

About the Author: Meagan Kozlovs

Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto  and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.

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