Center for Decision Research
  • CDR
  • CDR partners with The Second City

CDR partners with The Second City

In a groundbreaking partnership of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and The Second City, the Second Science Project (SSP) intersects behavioral science with improvisational practice to cultivate the behavioral insights and interpersonal skills needed in today’s workplace.


This new collaboration does not take improvisation as form of entertainment, but rather as a feature of daily life—something people must do every time they find themselves in a situation they didn’t completely foresee, whether in the context of adjusting to new coworkers, responding to unforeseen defiance, or changing a team’s old strategy. Inspired by over a century of behavioral research as well as decades of experiential expertise accumulated at The Second City, this new evidence-driven collaboration seeks to help people not only understand, but practice adapting their own behavior to accommodate how people improvise their everyday responses to the world.

Pioneering Research

This collaboration aims to produce and publish rigorous, cutting-edge, high-impact research. Work supported by this collaboration will pertain to the wide range of behavioral science phenomena relevant to the types of judgment, decision making, and behavior that are relevant in improvisational contexts; these include honesty, empathy, group relations, motivation, communication, cooperation, goals, perception, self-regulation, diversity, inclusion, and coordination.

Education Programs

Defining a new generation of learning experiences, SSP workshops take participants to the step beyond gaining behavioral insights, bringing out their ability to improvise in translating those insights into action. Grounded in over a century of behavioral science and The Second City’s renowned “Yes, And” philosophy, each workshop utilizes enriched improvisational exercises to help participants identify, analyze, and better adapt their individual approaches to the interpersonal demands of their work.

The power of the SSP workshops arises in the blending of scientific insight and skilled practice through newly-designed improvisational exercises, offering participants an innovative way to both learn and act. Amplifying the strengths for which each institution is known around the world, each experiential session is infused with cutting-edge behavioral science from fields like economics, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as with scientifically informed improvisational practice from the institution that has produced icons such as Bill Murray, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert.

With the societal landscape becoming ever more dynamic and variable over time, these workshops promise neither a cure-all nor a superficial five-point plan for success. Taking an unabashedly realistic approach to the development of people skills, the sessions simply help participants to practice--with potent understanding of common human tendencies--small improvements with which they may more successfully improvise their way through each day. With the courage to move one step at a time, the workshops promote reliable development of the inclusive interpersonal skills--like engagement, listening, reflection, and collaboration--that have become vital.

Some of our current offerings include:

  • Skills of Responsible Leadership: Hearing One Another
  • Skills of Responsible Leadership: Choice Architecture
  • Transitioning from Theory into Practice, and from Practice into Action
  • Storytelling and Storylearning
  • Influence: Change through Communication WITH (not to) Your Audience
  • Leadership and Communication for High-Performing Teams
  • Collaborative Disruption


Welcome to the Center for Decision Research

The Center for Decision Research is devoted to the study of how individuals form judgments and make decisions. Researchers at the center examine the processes by which intuition, reasoning, and social interaction produce beliefs, judgments, and choices. Understanding how and why people make decisions has important applications in a range of contexts, including management, marketing, finance, and public policy.

© 2017 Chicago Booth: Center for Decision Research