Actors Suppress “Self-Self” at the Level of Brain Activity

(ORDO NEWS) — Neuroscientists have studied the brain activity of professional actors during rehearsal for the first time.

It turned out that new roles force them to suppress their “sense of self” so much that the prefrontal cortex stops responding to their own name.

In addition, scientists observed the synchronization of brain activity patterns in actors rehearsing the same scene together.

Scientists from University College London (UK) have come to the conclusion that professional actors suppress their sense of self when they play new roles.

This discovery shows that theater training can have a big impact on the fundamental mechanisms of brain activity.

The authors of the work used portable brain imaging technologies developed at the University of California (USA) to record the brain activity of actors during rehearsal for the first time.

The study involved six professional actors who acted out scenes from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As it turned out, when the actors heard their name during rehearsal, their prefrontal cortex of the left hemisphere of the brain did not react to it in any way.

It is believed that this area is closely related to the processes of self-awareness and self-perception.

For a person, the sound of their own name is a powerful social signal that usually makes them turn their heads and look for the source of the sound. However, artists appear to be able to inhibit this response at a neural level.

This result was observed in all the actors who took part in the experiment during the week. At the same time, under normal conditions, the actors normally responded to their own name both by their behavior and by the activity of the prefrontal cortex.

Scientists hope that this study will help to better understand how working in the theater affects brain activity.

Another task was to study interpersonal coordination between pairs of artists rehearsing the same scene together. The authors tracked their heartbeat, breathing and brain activity.

In the end, the scientists found similar patterns of activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus and right frontopolar cortex of two actors rehearsing together.

These areas are related to social interaction and action planning. The observed effects appeared to be brain specific and were not observed in heartbeat or respiration data.

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