Stories and human brains
stories. From the beginning of human communities we are used to sit together - maybe
next to the fire - and tell each other stories, or to paint images on the walls of a cave as a storyboard: stories about divinities, heroes,
other men. This process shaped our societies by creating communities of individuals
linked to each other by sharing the "same story" (it might be real History, common believes, or the same cultural background).
Why stories are so powerful?
When listening to a story, different activities happen in human brains:
1- According to Uri Hasson from Princeton, a story activates parts in the brain that allows the listener to turn
the story in to their own ideas and experience thanks to a process
called neutral coupling.
That is why we tend to repeat stories, jokes or funny facts we heard from others as they were ours.
2- Mirror neurons are neurons that fire both when an individual performs an action and when the individual sees or hearsanother perform a similar action. Before their discovery, scientists believed
that our brains uses logical thought processes to interpret and predict
other people's actions. Now, however, many have come to believe that we
understand others not by thinking, but by feeling; by showing that, when a person perceives the actions
of others, the person activates the motor programs which they would use
to perform similar actions.
3- The brain releases dopamine into the system when it experiences an emotionally-charged event, making it easier to remember and with greater accuracy.
Paul Zak's research indicates also that our brains produce the stress hormone
cortisol during the tense moments in a story, which allows us to focus,
while the happy moments in a story releases oxytocin, the feel-good
chemical that promotes connection and empathy.
4- When processing facts, two areas of the brain are activated (Broca's and
Wernicke's area). A well-told story can engage many additional areas of the brain,
including the motor cortex, sensory cortex, and frontal cortex.
Data can inform people and bring them to immediate action. Embracing new values and changing the attitude, however, cannot happen by looking at graphs or numbers. Stories can be a powerful tool to make this change happen, because they touch the hearts and imagination of the listeners.
As a trainer you can also use stories to stimulate your participants' brains!
1. Starting your course with a powerful metaphor, will help you in catalyze all the attention from the beginning.
2.Treating difficult and sensitive topic with a story, will help you get closer to their feelings.
Would you like to know more about storytelling and how to use it in your training courses? Don't miss the next article!
Sources for the article:
- IMAGES source: Pixabay.com
- Amsterdam storytelling festival activities
- The Science of Storytelling: What Listening to a Story Does to Our Brains
- Mirror neurons
- Wired for stories - Lisa Cron
- The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool
(Edited by Simona Giancola - original submission Wednesday, 9 November 2016, 11:37 AM)
(Edited by Simona Giancola - original submission Sunday, 9 July 2017, 9:59 PM)