Why do all human cultures create and pass on stories? We know that shared stories — histories — unite a people, just as a person’s life history unifies one’s many experiences into a coherent narrative and defines that person. But that’s only part of it.
Now we are learning that a shared story creates a connection much deeper than we ever suspected. Writing in Aeon Magazine, Elizabeth Svoboda tells us how neuroscience is uncovering how stories help us connect to other people:
In a 2010 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, the psychologist Uri Hasson and his Princeton University colleagues had a graduate student tell an unrehearsed story while her brain was being scanned in an fMRI machine. Then they scanned the brains of 11 volunteers listening to a recording of the story. As the researchers analysed the data, they found some striking similarities. Just when the…
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