How stories change your brain

Updated: Dec 23, 2021


It has been understood for centuries that we learn through stories in a different and exciting way. We retain more, understand more complexities, and are inspired in uniquely personal ways when we read, listen to, or watch a good story.

Over the 1980s and 90s there were wonderful advancements in diagnostic imagery that made it possible for researchers to observe our brain’s physical reactions to external stimuli. This spun off some very important changes in how we approach all kinds of behavioral issues and how to deliver messages more effectively. Some initiatives were clearly for “the greater good”. For example, understanding how adolescent brains learn and react helped one U.S. state change how to push young drivers to better driving habits. Deeper understanding that some behaviours are physically based and not just “choices” has changed how we react and treat a wide range of conditions. Other initiatives are perhaps more controversial, typically in the marketing arena when designing programs that better connect and influence people for commercial purposes.

For me, learning the brain mechanics and imagery techniques and their impact on medical and psychological treatment was very absorbing and rewarding just on its own. Understanding from that how I might better communicate was impactful as well. There were obvious lessons in “sending” communication but even more in “receiving” when I had a broader perspective in appreciating the perspectives of the sender.

The Pathfinders community is grounded on story based learning. We use stories that help people make career decisions and we are excited by the potential to help others in this way. We also want to connect other supportive career tools with the community to make your career development options broader and more complete. We invite anyone to please join in building the community. If you have ideas to put out there let us know! If you provide career tools or services let us know!

Some great links to follow on brains and stories

https://hbr.org/2014/10/why-your-brain-loves-good-storytelling

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_stories_change_brain

https://www.worldfullofbliss.com/post/the-neuroscience-of-story-how-stories-change-our-brains

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/04/11/815573198/how-stories-connect-and-persuade-us-unleashing-the-brain-power-of-narrative


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