Scientists believe that we are hard-wired to pay attention to stories. In our hunter-gatherer days, we gained a huge evolutionary advantage when we developed the ability to communicate information with descriptive stories.
Most animals rely on experience or direct observation to learn; a mother bear can’t tell her cub not to eat the red berries if he goes into the meadow. But humans can give each other detailed narratives about food, danger, and opportunities. It’s not surprising that evolution favored those who could effectively use this form of communication.
Stories engage our brains. One experiment found that stories that described vivid action lit up the same areas of a reader’s brain as those in a person performing that action. (See Your Brain on Stories.)
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