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December 12, 2012
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How Storytelling Affects the Brain

:iconlucy-merriman:
Lucy-Merriman Dec 12, 2012  Student General Artist
So this is a really powerful neurological experiment that shows how stories affect people physically and emotionally, in a really demonstrable way: [link]

I got the video from the neurotic thought tumblr (neuroticthought.tumblr.com)

Questions: What story has had a profound effect on your life? How did it change you?

Also, this experiment focused on positive change. Do you think a story can produce a negative change in a person?
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:iconsmarticleparticle:
SmarticleParticle Dec 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Two books have really affected me. The first was All Quiet on the Western Front. It seems like in history class, you're taught that the Germans were the bad guys, but in reality, your average German soldier was not much different to a British/American/French one, and they had it really hard towards the end of the war.

The second one was Ender's Game. It was so sad at the end *spoiler*, since the whole 3rd Bugger War was a misunderstanding. Even so, I kind of sympathised with Ender, even though he was a 6-year-old murderer. If you don't totally defeat the enemy while you can, you will fight the same battle over and over again.

I read both of those books when I was about 12, and they definitely had an impact on the way I thought and influenced my development.
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Dec 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller made my heart ache soon after the death of my father. My father was a working slob who died suddenly. I loved my father, and I love Arthur Miller for his story.
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:iconlucy-merriman:
Lucy-Merriman Dec 14, 2012  Student General Artist
Wow. That's intense.
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:iconmr-timeshadow:
One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts by Shirley Jackson. I find it influencing my behavior every day. This story follows a seemingly middle-aged man around town for one day, as he does one good deed after another for random people he meets. Not until the end do we find out why he does it. That ending made me think for a very long time, and I decided to adopt part of his lifestyle as my own...at least as much as I could.
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:iconlucy-merriman:
Lucy-Merriman Dec 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Awesome! I'll have to add it to my list.
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:iconmr-timeshadow:
You might also want to add one other story that affected me for years: And My Fear is Great by Theodore Sturgeon. To this day, I still quote a scene involving a coffee table; it offers a useful metaphor for my worldview...
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:iconvglory:
I don't think that study really shows a story changing people. It shows that people come in with varying degrees of empathy for others. Those with a higher degree react more to the story and donate more to others. But there is no causal link should between the story and the donation that I can see. Only between being an empathic person and both outcomes.
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:iconlucy-merriman:
Lucy-Merriman Dec 13, 2012  Student General Artist
But the people who watched the story had a greater empathic response than the people in the control group (who watched the video about the zoo).
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:iconvglory:
Yes. As such is shows that nice people get sad watching sad stories. But being nice is a pre-existing condition. At most the story helps "diagnose" which people are nice and which people are not.
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:iconvglory:
Yes, but that is like saying those people who ate food were less hungry than the control group.

Those responses are known (otherwise the ASPCA would not fill out airways with puppies)and transitory (otherwise the shelters would not still be full of homeless puppies).

The next day the person is exactly the same as the control group. To me "change" would be a more enduring effect.
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