Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains

By Leo Widrich

In 1748, the British politician and aristocrat John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, spent a lot of his free time playing cards. He greatly enjoyed eating a snack while still keeping one hand free for the cards. So he came up with the idea to eat beef between slices of toast, which would allow him to finally eat and play cards at the same time. Eating his newly invented "sandwich," the name for two slices of bread with meat in between, became one of the most popular meal inventions in the western world.

What's interesting about this is that you are very likely to never forget the story of who invented the sandwich ever again. Or at least, much less likely to do so, if it would have been presented to us in bullet points or other purely information-based form.

For over 27,000 years, since the first cave paintings were discovered, telling stories has been one of our most fundamental communication methods. Recently a good friend of mine gave me an introduction to the power of storytelling, and I wanted to learn more.

Here is the science around storytelling and how we can use it to make better decisions every day:

Our brain on stories: How our brains become more active when we tell stories

We all enjoy a good story, whether it's a novel, a movie, or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us. But why do we feel so much more engaged when we hear a narrative about events?

Read the rest here.


  1. I used to be a HS Math Teacher. We had our "In Service Days" where we were forced to listen to the Indoctrinators (Believe me, it worse than you could ever imagine).

    There was one exception and his name was Spence Rogers, who actually used Real Swell Science and Stuff! One of his main ideas was this:

    "If I listen, I remember 5%. If I teach, I remember 95%".


    (It's also True!)


  2. Great article. Also check out this video about mirror neurons:

  3. Homo Narrativus. This describes us better than anything else.