Chapter 1 The science of storytelling

Sure, you might already be aware that telling a story makes good sense, but it is more than that. It is actually based on good science. In this chapter I take you through this science, explaining how stories build trust and heighten emotions.

The brain behind the story

Our brain has different parts, and each part has a different job. The left side of our brain, for example, helps us think logically and organise our thoughts, while the right side helps us experience emotions and recall personal memories. We also have a ‘reptile brain’ that makes us act instinctively and a ‘mammal brain’ that helps us connect in relationships. And our brains have a neocortex, which is connected to a complex series of nerves and networks called the ‘limbic system’. This is responsible for the development of the bond we feel between ourselves and another (like the mother–child bond).

In his international best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman explains that our evolved neocortex is the reason our emotions are so powerful. He says,

“As the root from which the newer brain grew, the emotional areas are intertwined via myriad connecting circuits to all parts of the neocortex. This gives the emotional centres immense power to influence the functioning of the rest of the brain.

When we tell stories all the different parts and areas of our brain are stimulated and start to work together, combining words and logic and emotions and sensory images, ...

Get Stories for Work now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.