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Does something serious happen when we play? TED speakers describe how all forms of amusement — from tossing a ball to video games — can make us smarter, saner and more collaborative.

Neuroscientist Jeff Mogil reveals how playing a game can make you more empathetic. Comedian Charlie Todd, explains how his group, Improv Everywhere, creates moments of urban whimsy to bring people together. Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play in California, says humor, games, roughhousing and fantasy are more than just fun. He came to this conclusion after conducting some somber research into the stark childhoods of murderers. Primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo explains how bonobos learn by constantly playing, and how that play can offer insights into human laughter, creativity and our capacity for wonder and exploration. And Jane McGonigal, a researcher of games and Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, says virtual games can improve our real lives.

Learn more or listen again to this week's episode.

Photo: iStockphoto



Guy Raz