TEDxBroadway 2015 Video: Dr. Laurie Santos

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 11.27.59 AMEditor’s note: Jim curates TEDxBroadway each year, working with the speakers on their presentations and helping them to answer the question: “What’s the best Broadway can be?” Below is his insight into the process, so you can find out exactly how this informative and inspiring day comes together.

Dr. Laurie Santos should have a TV show. I’d set my DVR for ‘Series Record’ for it, and I’m not even sure what it would be about. No matter, because I’m sure it would be about some complex aspect of the human mind and how it can be made to seem both super interesting and really simple.

For TEDxBroadway aficionados, the first thing I should tell you is that I met Laurie through TEDxBroadway 2014 superstar Dr. Ainissa Ramirez. As you might know, science is part of our programming every year, so I asked Ainissa if there was more awesome where she came from.

There was.

When Laurie and I first started talking about her TEDxBroadway talk, she mentioned this work that had taken place with the primates she studies and how they basically fall into the same dumb traps that we do when it comes to using money. But, she said, maybe there’s some connection to the other stuff: the differences.

Nonhuman primates can’t really put themselves into the minds of other people (or apes). That means that they probably wouldn’t make a great target audience for theater. In her talk, she points out how weird it is that people like to sit in a room with a bunch of other people and watch a bunch of things happen on a stage that we KNOW aren’t real, and that the fact that we not only like it, but we’re absolutely fascinated by this kind of storytelling is a critical feature of being human.

I told Laurie that if I were grading TEDxBroadway talks, she just got 100. It’s an interesting, smart, fun and very well-delivered talk, and you should check it out (below).

Oh, and if anyone thinks of a name for Laurie’s TV show, feel free to share.

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