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Double Cupcakes - Measuring the Impact of Live Experiences

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Why do people flock to live theater events in an age where digital entertainment is just a click away? This blog delves into a groundbreaking study by Professor Karen Melton and her team, revealing the profound emotional and neurological impacts of live experiences.

Double Cupcakes is a one act play. It was staged by students at a university theater. Besides friends and family, why do people show up? After all, there are an infinite number of entertainment choices online that don't require getting dressed, driving to a venue, and walking from a distant parking lot.

In a fascinating study, Professor Karen Melton at Baylor University and her colleagues used the Immersion Neuroscience platform to measure the neural responses of 72 audience members watching Double Cupcakes.

Using Immersion's categories for how strongly people respond to experiences, a quarter of the audience had high or very high Immersion responses, and more than two-thirds (68.2%) of the observations were in the middle quartile of Immersion. Less than 8% of the audience was below the median and not a single person was neurologically tuned-out.

These data show that people attend live theater and similar live experiences because they produce extraordinarily valuable emotional responses. As I have discussed before, we can increase our happiness by having peak Immersion experiences. In addition, the data consistently show that when an experience includes other people - even strangers at a play - Immersion is nearly always higher than having an experience alone. And, often substantially so.

Most importantly, there is emerging data showing that people who regularly have peak Immersion experiences induce neuroplasticity that helps them to be more fully present and emotionally open throughout their lives. This improves our ability to connect to others, extends healthspan, and improves satisfaction with life.

Plays, couples dinners, family picnics or hiking with your dog - the brain processes all of these as social experiences, and they are not only immediately enjoyable, but emotionally valuable. Immersion's emotional fitness app is free and it syncs with users' calendars so they can see which experiences generate Immersion peaks and which are not worth repeating. Find out what your brain loves with our emotional fitness app Tuesday and bring a friend along to your next outing. You'll have a great time and your brain will be healthier!

You can read the published scientific study by Dr. Melton and colleagues, and learn more about how Immersion is a validated method for measuring the impact of experiential design here.

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