Good Stories Rewire the Brain via @FastCompany

Tracy Granzyk MS, Managing Editor, Educate the Young
Tracy Granzyk MS, Managing Editor, Educate the Young

By Tracy Granzyk MS

First Posted at Educate the Young on 1/24/2014

Tracy Granzyk MS, Managing Editor, Educate the Young
Tracy Granzyk MS, Managing Editor, Educate the Young

We live in a time of information overload with amazing new tools to generate unlimited content, yet no reliable off-switch to know when to say when. A time when we seem to have little of it– bombarded with messages, information, advertising, emails, text messages, twitter feeds, facebook posts and more. Until someone creates an app with a more efficient way to sort the wheat from the proverbial chaff, grabbing the lastest best seller or classic novel can not only provide an escape from the onslaught of information, but also a rewiring of the brain, according to a recent @Fast Company article, Why You Should Read More Novels, by @shaunacysays. Experts share:

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, the study’s lead author. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

On more than one occasion, we have discussed how good stories inspire change by pulling us in on an emotional level (see How Do Great Storytellers Evoke Empathy) . Yes, cute kitties go viral before the latest data on chronic disease. But give that kitty to a 9-year-old girl whose best friend just moved away, stick the kitty up a tree and show Dad begging the fire chief to look at the “big picture” versus the risk of climbing an icy oak tree in sub-zero, January winds…well then, yes, you have a greater chance of fully engaging your audience. Stories like this, it appears, are engaging readers at the cellular level. But is this surprising? It has long been said words can hurt, but we’re only beginning to understand the true power words, and collectively, stories can hold to inspire change.

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Tracy Granzyk MS is Managing Editor for Educate the Young, and a freelance writer and social media consultant who specializes in healthcare, wellness and sport. She spent 15 years in sales, marketing and global strategy in the biotech industry, and joined Dr. Mayer in 2008 as a writer on the award-winning Transparent Health film series where a passion for patient safety took hold. With a graduate degree in sport psychology and an undergraduate degree in non-fiction writing, Tracy is well-positioned to take complex science and healthcare information and share it in a narrative form that resonates with audiences coming from all sides of healthcare. Her insatiable quest for acquiring and sharing knowledge in innovative ways via social and digital media has led to a greater understanding of where technology can take healthcare. As such, her research has most recently been focused in education technology, serious games/simulation, and storytelling.