NeuroPunch

The Moral of the Story: ‘The Storytelling Animal,’ by Jonathan Gottschall

"Narrative is stitched intrinsically into the fabric of human psychology."

"There are several surprises about stories. The first is that we spend a great deal of time in fictional worlds, whether in daydreams, novels, confabulations or life narratives."

"A second surprise: The dominant themes of story aren’t what we might assume them to be…They bubble with conflict and struggle…Trouble, Gottschall argues, is the universal grammar of stories.”

"When researchers pick apart the hours of dream content, it turns out dreamland is all about fight or flight."

"Neuroscience has long recognized that emulation of the future is one of the main businesses intelligent brains invest in. By learning the rules of the world and simulating outcomes in the service of decision making, brains can play out events without the risk and expense of attempting them physically."

Changing the brain requires the correct neurotransmitters, and those are especially in attendance when a person is curious, is predicting what will happen next and is emotionally engaged.”

"If the narrative doesn’t contain the suitable kind of virtue, brains don’t absorb it…This leads to the suggestion that story’s role is ‘intensely moralistic.’”

Stories serve the biological function of encouraging pro-social behavior.”

“‘If the research is correct, fiction is one of the primary sculpting forces of individuals and societies.’”

"The medium of story is changing, in other words, but not its essence. Our inborn thirst for narrative means that story — its power, purpose and relevance — will endure as long as the human animal does." — David Eagleman, NYTimes.com


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