During the Australian AMP “Igniting our spark” sessions, I experience a sense of wonderment as the actors from The Jump (Conversant Asia Pacific corporate acting troupe) transform the mood, the space and the energy of the group during role plays, interludes and playback.
The effect of their activities creates a positive mood that sustains peoples’ interest and motivation throughout the day.
I’ve been seeking to understand what is happening.
I’m reading a book, Your Brain at Work by Dr David Rock. It draws on the latest findings of neuroscience to help us find the “sweet spot” for peak performance. It was here that I gained insight into The Jump “phenomena”. I say phenomena because the actors are actually changing our brains.
How does this happen? The executive function in the brain is called the prefrontal cortex. It is the part of the brain we use for decision making, focus and alertness. Firing synapses in the prefrontal cortex depends on having just the right level of two chemicals – noradrenaline (the chemistry of fear) and dopamine (the chemistry of interest) Not enough of these neurotransmitters leads to boredom and under alertness. Too much leads to stress and over arousal.
Dopamine goes up with novelty, play, watching funny clips, telling jokes and funny stories. It increases when we experience something new and unexpected. Simply, dopamine is central to the “moving toward” state, to being open, curious and interested.
My insight is that The Jump is actually increasing dopamine levels in the brain with each playful interaction! The result of these playful interactions is actually creating a greater state of focus, motivation and engagement.