Importance of Stories in Our Lives: How Storytelling Affects the Brain?

How Do Stories Change Your Brain?

Storytelling is an essential part of being human. Stories stimulate the brain and change the way we act in our lives.

The stories motivate you to work with others, make you more empathic, compassionate, and generous, and positively influence your social behavior. 

Stories shape your brains, activate the auditory cortex in your brain and ignite the left temporal cortex, the region that is receptive to language.

At the chemical level, when you hear stories, your brain secretes oxytocin, the bonding hormone that makes you really care about the people involved.

Storytelling and the Brain
How Storytelling Affects the Brain?

Why Are Stories Important to Humans?

Storytelling is one of the most powerful means that you must have to influence, teach, and inspire. 

Storytelling serves as a way to teach what society values and to deliver a specific message during spiritual and ceremonial functions.

Through stories, you can share passions, joys, sadness, fears and hardships, and can find common ground with other people so that you can connect and communicate with them.


Why Do We Love Stories?

Whether we like to read a story - or hear it ... or watch stories - we love stories. Stories and novels are not a luxury, accessories, or a way to pass the time ... they are simply part of our brain activity and its requirements ... And if we really want to pass on any value, any message, any principle ... then that cannot be better than what happens with "stories".


Effective stories make it easier for your brains to store data for later retrieval and heighten your ability to memorize experiences and thus help improve information processing.

The stories make you feel emotions. Emotions are a signal to the brain that everything we experience is important.


The direct impact of the stories is evident and can be easily noticed in any lecture. When there is a personal story involved, the interaction and activity by the audience is much greater than when the conversation is devoid of the story.

Stories make the information unforgettable and allow us to share information in a way that creates an emotional connection. 


Biological studies offer an astonishing explanation: When we hear a story, we imagine what is happening, we feel the feeling of the hero, we imitate it to some degree ... and all this activates multiple and different regions in the brain, and it secretes nerve impulses different from those that are produced in the case of normal speech devoid of the story.

This brain activity when hearing or reading stories explains why the details of the story are much more stuck in our minds than when hearing a normal conversation, no matter how clever, scientific and logical it is.


Some researchers indicate that a telling/hearing story was an important tool in the survival of humanity at the beginning of its history and that this was no less important than some important human organs.

How? They point out that stories were the only way to pass community laws, customs and traditions within the first primitive societies, and they were the only way to warn of potential dangers that the "recipient" had not yet faced, but the story would make him understand them, anticipate their danger and take precautions from them...

Likewise, the nature of these societies necessitated the existence of values of cooperation and altruism between members of the tribe or village, and these values were passed on through stories. 

The person who sacrifices for the sake of others is glorified and bestowed upon him certain qualities, which makes others want to follow his example.


In one important study that attempted to verify this information, two primitive societies were studied in the Philippines, where the population still lives a primitive lifestyle.

In the first society, there were more "storytellers" and they were viewed with great respect, and in the second society the number of storytellers was less and the perception of them was less.

80% of the stories circulated were concerned with values (right and wrong, and the attitude towards them) and not as one might expect it to be against the dangers of nature.

The other important thing: the standard of cooperation and generosity for the first society was higher than for the second society. This strengthens the idea that stories contributed to the survival of mankind by transmitting certain values that encourage people to perform certain behaviors that contribute to survival.

Any other human society in that period, was not armed with stories, was exposed to destruction and extinction much more than societies that blamed their members for certain values through stories ... In other words, simplified: Those who do not tell or hear stories ... become extinct ... As for those who do, they have survived.

And all modern humans are descendants of the second type. In other words, from the other: our brains are hardwired to interact with stories. This is part of our human nature.


Why Do Stories Matter for Children's Learning?

Stories for kids
Storytelling is very important for children's mental growth

Researchers have found that stories have a strong influence on children's understanding of cultural and gender roles.

The role of stories is not limited to developing literacy in children; stories convey values, attitudes, beliefs, and social norms that in turn shape children's perceptions of reality.

Stories help improve your child's brain, ability to focus, concentration, and memory, develop listening and communication skills, create a sense of wonder, bring experiences alive, and help sequence events.


Reading stories to pre-school children strengthens their ability to understand the feelings and thoughts of others, or what has been termed "theory of mind". 

Researchers have also found a similar effect when children watched movies in particular, but not television in general.

It is believed that the reason for this is that children often watch television alone, but when they go to the cinema they are in the company of parents, which creates an opportunity for dialogue between them and their parents regarding the interactions they are watching.


Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada, says that literature is a useful simulation, because discussing the social world in an effective way is extremely difficult, and it requires an extremely large number of causes and consequences to be taken into account. Just as the computer simulations we use help us deal with complex problems such as flying or forecasting the weather, so dramas, novels and stories help us understand the complexities of social life.


These results confirm that many people feel that reading a novel has taught them something or enlightened their minds.

And don't be surprised too much if you find your brain comparing people you have met in flesh and blood novels you have read with others you meet here or there, it seems that the brain takes both very seriously.

Reading rich literature has evolved us as human beings, and this is what neuroscience proves today.


⇒Stories are a part of everyday life and help you communicate and connect with others.

Storytelling helps you understand the world and communicate your values and beliefs.

Storytelling creates a participatory and immersive experience that allows you to enjoy hearing language in a dynamic, stylistic, and sometimes entertaining way.

Storytelling affects the brain in some strange and wonderful ways. The stories activate the auditory cortex in your brain and ignite the left temporal cortex, the area that receives language.

The stories have a powerful influence on children's understanding of cultural and gender roles. They help improve children's brain, ability to focus, and memory and develop empathy and cultivate imaginative and divergent thinking.

The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

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