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NEUROSCIENCE TELLS US THAT AMAZING THINGS ...

HAPPENWHEN WE LISTEN TO and TELL STORIES

When we listen to a lecture about climate change, for example, with PowerPoint slides, graphs and bullet points, the parts of our brain that show we are listening and the part where words are processed both light up. But when we listen to a story, something very different happens. First of all, the same parts of the storyteller's brain and the listener's brain light up together. AND IF we are listening to a story in which someone kicks a ball, for example, the part of our brain that coordinates foot motion activates. That is, we experience the story rather than just absorbing information. We understand it more deeply. We retain it for longer.

As author Annie Murphy Paul puts it, 'The brain . . . does not make such a

distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in

real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.'

This research jibes with my own experience.

                                            Rob Hopkins • FROM WHAT IF TO WHAT IS

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