Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stories CAN Change Us

Much thanks to storyteller, Robin Reichert, for bringing this to my attention.

Over on Brain Pickings, Maria Popova highlights experiments done by Paul Zak, a neuroeconomics engineer.  (And, no, I don't know what a neuroeconomics engineer is.  It sounds a little scary, though.) These experiments showed how listening to a story effected brain chemistry and changed test subjects behavior.

You can watch the video and read Popova's article here.

 It's nice to have empirical data that confirms what we storytellers have known all along.  Stories change us.  So, be careful what you tell.  Stories are not just for entertainment - and they never have been.


  1. About two weeks ago, my son and husband sat in the living room listening intently to a novel I was reading to them. I kept asking them if they'd had enough. But they didn't. They always wanted more. Over the course of the day, I must have read to them for a total of 4 hours (with a break in between for eating). We'd never done that before. It was pretty cool.

    Then the other day, we were driving to visit my parents (an 8 hour car ride) so I picked up a book beforehand. I spent about half the trip reading aloud to them again.

    My son has always loved stories, and he reads on his own alot, but I had never read whole novels to him in one sitting. This is new. But I like how it brings our family together, in a quiet, shared, and dare I say, gadget-free experience. Kinda refreshing. I wonder if these experiences changed them as you suggest...

    1. Hey, Michele! Listening together as a family to well-phrased stories - books - whatever - is like being members of a secret club. My son, the Hub, and I have "wink wink" moments where one of us refers to something in a long ago read-aloud and right away the others know! The stories we listened to on long rides are patches in our family quilt. I'm glad you and Lo and the Boy have formed a "Secret Listening Club" of your own.